Ed Dept. Announces Race to the Top District Competition

August 29, 2012

On August 12, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced it had finalized the application for the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $400 million to support school districts in implementing local education reforms. According to the department: “The program sets a high bar to fund those districts that have a track record of success, clear vision for reform, and innovative plans to transform the learning environment and accelerate student achievement.” 

The Coalition for a College and Career Ready America (CCCRA) hosted a webinar on August 16th to discuss this new grant competition which is focused on rewarding vision and leadership at the district level; helping schools tailor instruction and support to meet the needs of individual students; and preparing all students to graduate college and career ready. ED anticipates awarding fifteen to twenty-four grants of up to $25 million each.

To view a replay of the webinar, please visit: www.CollegeandCareerReadyAmerica.org.

Key information about the competition:

Who is Eligible?

  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or a consortia of LEAs, may be across states
  • Serves a minimum of 2,000 participating students or fewer if a consortium of at least 10 LEAs of 75% of students in LEA participate
  • 40% or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch
  • Grade and subject area bands

What Range Will the Awards Cover?

  • $5-10 million – 2,000-5,000 participating students
  • $10-20 million – 5,001-10,000 participating students
  • $20-30 million – 10,001-25,000 participating students
  • $30-40 million – 25,001 + participating students

What are the Application Requirements?

  • Must have adopted college- and career-ready standards
  • Must be able to measure student performance against college- and career-ready graduation requirements
  • Applicants must implement evaluation systems for teachers, principals and superintendents by 2014-15
  • Must have a data system with an individual teacher identifier and student match, as well as the capacity to provide timely feedback and match P-12 data to higher education data

What will Applications Need to Focus on?

  • Applications must meet an “absolutely priority” for providing personalized learning environments, with the goal of increasing the rates at which students graduate from high school college- and career-ready
  • Applications must focus on “skills such as goal-setting, teamwork, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and problem-solving, in addition to master of content.”
  • Applications must demonstrate how students will be able access multiple ways of learning, and how opportunities will be provided “for students to identify and pursue areas of personal passion.”

What is the Competition Timeline?

  • Intent to Apply Due: August 30, 2012
  • Application Due Date: October 30, 2012
  • Grant Awards Announced: December 2012