World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Race to the Top


Race to the Top

Race to the Top, abbreviated R2T, RTTT or RTT, is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education contest created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education. It is funded by the ED Recovery Act as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was announced by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on July 24, 2009. States were awarded points for satisfying certain educational policies, such as performance-based standards (often referred to as an Annual professional performance review) for teachers and principals, complying with Common Core standards, lifting caps on charter schools, turning around the lowest-performing schools, and building data systems.


  • Criteria for Funding 1
  • Effects 2
  • Timetable 3
  • Awards 4
  • Criticisms 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Criteria for Funding

State applications for funding were scored on selection criteria worth a total of 500 points. In order of weight, the criteria were:[1]

  • Great Teachers and Leaders (138 total points)
    • Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance (58 points)
    • Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
    • Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals (21 points)
    • Providing effective support to teachers and principals (20 points)
    • Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs (14 points)
  • State Success Factors (125 total points)
    • Articulating State's education reform agenda and LEAs' participation in it (65 points)
    • Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans (30 points)
    • Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps (30 points)
  • Standards and Assessments (70 total points)
    • Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
    • Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments (20 points)
    • Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (10 points)
  • General Selection Criteria (55 total points)
    • Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charters and other innovative schools (40 points)
    • Making education funding a priority (10 points)
    • Demonstrating other significant reform conditions (5 points)
  • Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools (50 total points)
    • Turning around the lowest-achieving schools (40 points)
    • Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs (10 points)
  • Data Systems to Support Instruction (47 total points)
    • Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system (24 points)
    • Using data to improve instruction (18 points)
    • Accessing and using State data (5 points)

In addition to the 485 possible points from the criteria above, the prioritization of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education is worth another fifteen points for a possible total of 500.[1]


Many states changed their policies to make their applications more competitive. For instance, Illinois lifted a cap on the number of charter schools it allows; Massachusetts made it easier for students in low-performing schools to switch to charters, and West Virginia proposed a merit pay system that includes student achievement in its compensation calculations.[2] In order to be eligible, states had to use value-added modeling in teacher evaluations. Some states had banned value-added modeling, but changed their laws to be eligible.[3]

Race to the Top prompted 48 states to adopt common standards for K-12.[4] Adoption was accelerated by the August 1, 2010 deadline for adopting common standards, after which states would not receive points toward round 2 applications. In addition, the White House announced a $350 million federal grant funding the development of assessments aligned to the common standards.[5][6] The common standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and others.[7]


Phase 1 applications for funding were due on January 19, 2010. 40 states applied for funding, as did the District of Columbia. Phase 1 finalists were announced on March 4, 2010, and phase 1 winners were announced on March 29, 2010.[8][9] The deadline for submitting Phase 2 applications was June 1; Phase 2 decisions were announced on August 24, 2010.[10] Phase 3 applications were spilt up into two parts. Part I was due November 22, 2011 and Part II was due December 16. Awards were announced on December 23. Winners of Phase 3 included: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.[10] Only Phase 2 finalists who did not earn money were eligible.[11] Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, jointly conducted by the Department of Education and the

  • Official Race to the Top Fund Website
  • Obama offers 'Race to the Top' contest for schools
  • Race to the Top Program Executive Summary
  • Common Core State Standards Initiative

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "Race to the Top Program Executive Summary".  
  2. ^ "Vermont sits out first round in Race to the Top competition".  
  3. ^ Dillon, Sam. "Method to Grade Teachers Provokes Battles", The New York Times, August 31, 2010. Accessed September 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Virginia's stance against national standards is a blow for students". Washington Post. June 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  5. ^ "Higher Standards, Better Tests, Race to the Top". U.S. Dept. of Education. June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  6. ^ "Race to the Top Assessment Program". U.S. Dept. of Education. June 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  7. ^ Anderson, Nick (March 10, 2010). "Common set of school standards to be proposed". Washington Post. p. A1. 
  8. ^ King Jr, Neil; Martinez, Barbara (March 5, 2010). "Race to the Top Finalists Are Named".  
  9. ^ "Tennessee, Delaware schools to get Race to the Top funds".  
  10. ^ a b c "Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants". US Dept. of Education. August 24, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ U.S. Department of Education (2011-11-16). "Phase 3 Overview Webinar" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  12. ^ 
  13. ^ "A Report on Race to the Top in Its Fourth Year" (PDF). 2014-03. 
  14. ^ "Race to the Top Phase 1 Final Results".  
  15. ^ "Race to the Top Phase 2 Final Results".  
  16. ^ "Race to the Top Phase 3 Final Results".  
  17. ^ U.S. Dept of Education (2010-03-29). "Delaware and Tennessee Win First Race to The Top Grants". 
  18. ^ U.S. Dept of Education (2010-08-24). "Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants". 
  19. ^ U.S. Dept of Education (2011-12-23). "Department of Education Awards $200 Million to Seven States to Advance K-12 Reform". 
  20. ^ "Obama offers 'Race to the Top' contest for schools".  
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Press Releases - Gov. Perry: Texas Knows Best How to Educate Our Students, Texas will not apply for Federal Race to the Top Funding.". Office of Governor  
  24. ^ Ravitch, Diane (March 14, 2010). "The Big Idea -- it's bad education policy".  
  25. ^ Darby, Seyward, Defending Obama's Education Plan New Republic
  26. ^ McNeil, Michelle, Civil Rights Groups Call for New Federal Education Agenda, Education Week
  27. ^ "LET’S DO THE NUMBERS: Department of Education’s "Race to the Top" Program Offers Only a Muddled Path to the Finish Line".  
  28. ^ Bowen, Daniel. "Politics and the Scoring of Race to the Top Applications". American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  29. ^ Nick Anderson and Rosalind Helderman (May 27, 2010). "Virginia Withdraws from Obama's Race to the Top". Washington Post. p. B4. 
  30. ^ "Race to the Top Program Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions". US Department of Education. May 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-11. Race to the Top does not endorse any particular consortium or set of standards. Criterion (B)(1) specifies characteristics of consortia and standards that earn States points under this criterion. 
  31. ^ Kumar, Anita (June 1, 2010). "McDonnell on MSNBC: Race to the Top too burdensome". Washington Post. 
  32. ^ Garofalo, Pat (June 1, 2010). "McDonnell Falsely Claims That Race To The Top Would Force Virginia To Lower Its Academic Standards". Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  33. ^ "McDonnell on MSNBC: Race to the Top would bring "burdensome" federal standards". Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  34. ^ "Overview Information: Race to the Top Fund".  
  35. ^


In lieu of an immediate ability to overturn Race to the Top, many grassroots groups have organized to specifically protest Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.[35]

On May 26, 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell withdrew the state from the second round of the competition. Virginia finished 31st out of 41 states in the first round, but McDonnell said that Virginia would not continue for the second round, believing the competition required the use of common education performance standards instead of Virginia's current standards. The use of common performance standards is required.[29][30] Although McDonnell supported the Race to the Top program during his campaign for governor,[31] he claimed on his June 1 appearance on MSNBC that the Race to the Top rules precluded participating states from adopting more rigorous standards in addition to whatever multi-state standards they join.[32][33] However, in some cases, "Race to the Top" regulations award the points even if states adopt standards more rigorous than the optional, common standards.[34]

[28] released a report in September 2010 finding disparities in Race to the Top scores versus the education reform track records and ratings of states from outside, independent sources. This report finds that states' political circumstances may have influenced states' final scores.American Enterprise Institute Finally, the [27] released a report in April 2010 finding that "the selection of Delaware and Tennessee was subjective and arbitrary, more a matter of bias or chance than a result of these states’ superior compliance with reform policies."Economic Policy Institute The [26][25] Critics further contend that the reforms being promoted are unproven or have been unsuccessful in the past. Former Assistant Secretary of Education

In explaining why Texas would not be applying for Race to the Top funding, Governor Rick Perry stated, "we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington."[23]

Although many states have competed to win the grants, Race to the Top has also been criticized by politicians, policy analysts, thought leaders and educators. Teachers' unions and educators stated that the tests are an inaccurate way to measure teachers, and haven't worked in the past. Conservatives have complained that it imposes federal control on state schools. Critics say that high-stakes testing is unreliable, that charter schools weaken public education, or that the federal government should not influence local schools.[20] One example is the High-Stakes Education Rule: What is tested with high-stakes standardized accountability gets taught; what is not tested gets unequal or denied access.[21] The K-12 student of socio-academic advantage [high(er) test score] gets unequal access to whole-student curricula or can outsource to learn, while the “invisible” disadvantaged student [low(er) test score] learns to grow up with disablingly narrow, separate and denied-access education.[22]


Round 1 (aka Phase 1) Winners were announced on March 29, 2010.[17] Round 2 (aka Phase 2) Winners were announced on August 24, 2010.[18] Round 3 (aka Phase 3) Winners were announced on December 23, 2011.[19]

After both rounds, the Department of Education released the complete scoring of each application, with the intention of making the scoring process more transparent and helping states revise their applications to be more competitive for the second round of competition.

Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, and Vermont did not submit Race to the Top applications for either round.

Race to the Top Results[14][15][16]
State Round 1 Score (Place) Round 1 Result Round 2 Score (Place) Round 2 Result Round 3 Score Round 3 Result
Alabama 291.2 (37th) - 212.0 (36th) - - -
Arizona 240.2 (40th) - 435.4 (12th) Finalist - Awarded $25 million
Arkansas 394.4 (17th) - 389.2 (21st) -
California 336.8 (27th) - 423.6 (16th) Finalist
Colorado 409.6 (14th) Finalist 420.2 (17th) Finalist - Awarded $18 million
Connecticut 344.6 (25th) - 379.0 (25th) -
Delaware 454.6 (1st) Awarded $100 million - -
District of Columbia 402.4 (16th) Finalist 450.0 (6th) Awarded $75 million
Florida 431.4 (4th) Finalist 452.4 (4th) Awarded $700 million
Georgia 433.6 (3rd) Finalist 446.4 (8th) Awarded $400 million
Hawaii 364.6 (22nd) - 462.4 (3rd) Awarded $75 million
Idaho 331.0 (28th) - Did Not Submit -
Illinois 423.8 (5th) Finalist 426.6 (15th) Finalist - Awarded $43 million
Indiana 355.6 (23rd) - Did Not Submit -
Iowa 346.0 (24th) - 382.8 (22nd) -
Kansas 329.6 (29th) - Did Not Submit -
Kentucky 418.8 (9th) Finalist 412.4 (19th) Finalist - Awarded $17 million
Louisiana 418.2 (11th) Finalist 434.0 (13th) Finalist - Awarded $17 million
Maine Did Not Submit - 283.4 (33rd) -
Maryland Did Not Submit - 450.0 (6th) Awarded $250 million
Massachusetts 411.4 (13th) Finalist 471.0 (1st) Awarded $250 million
Michigan 366.2 (21st) - 381.6 (23rd) -
Minnesota 375.0 (20th) - Did Not Submit -
Mississippi Did Not Submit - 263.4 (34th) -
Missouri 301.4 (33rd) - 316.4 (30th) -
Montana Did Not Submit - 238.4 (35th) -
Nebraska 247.4 (39th) - 295.8 (31st) -
Nevada Did Not Submit - 381.2 (24th) -
New Hampshire 271.2 (38th) - 335.2 (29th) -
New Jersey 387.0 (18th) - 437.8 (11th) Finalist - Awarded $38 million
New Mexico 325.2 (30th) - 366.2 (28th) -
New York 408.6 (15th) Finalist 464.8 (2nd) Awarded $700 million
North Carolina 414.0 (12th) Finalist 441.6 (9th) Awarded $400 million
Ohio 418.6 (10th) Finalist 440.8 (10th) Awarded $400 million
Oklahoma 294.6 (34th) - 391.8 (20th) -
Oregon 292.6 (35th) - Did Not Submit -
Pennsylvania 420.0 (7th) Finalist 417.6 (18th) Finalist - Awarded $41 million
Rhode Island 419.0 (8th) Finalist 451.2 (5th) Awarded $75 million
South Carolina 423.2 (6th) Finalist 431.0 (14th) Finalist
South Dakota 135.8 (41st) - Did Not Submit -
Tennessee 444.2 (2nd) Awarded $500 million - -
Utah 379.4 (19th) - 379.0 (25th) -
Vermont - -
Virginia 324.8 (31st) - Did Not Submit -
Washington Did Not Submit - 290.6 (32nd) -
West Virginia 292.4 (36th) - Did Not Submit -
Wisconsin 341.2 (26th) - 368.4 (27th) -
Wyoming 318.6 (32nd) - Did Not Submit -

States were eligible for different funding award brackets depending on their share of the federal population of children between the ages of 5-17. Phase 1 award bands ranged from $20–75 million up to the highest phase 1 award range of $350–$700 million. Only the four largest states, by population, (California, Texas, Florida, and New York) were eligible for this highest bracket. Over three rounds, 18 states plus the District of Columbia were awarded grants totaling $4.1 billion (not including RTTT-Early Learning Challenge grants). These awardees in aggregate serve approximately 22 million students making up approximately 45% of the all K-12 students in the United States .[13]



This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.