Race To The Top | Only two states win Round 1

Track meet competition in girl's running

Race To The Top asks states to "tune up" their education policy to compete for federal funds. Image from Flickr.

As a part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a new education program called Race To The Top was created. With more than $4 billion available for school districts, Race To The Top laid out a point system for schools that wanted a cut of the funds. There are two rounds of funding, and only two states created Race To The Top plans that earned them federal funding. Many state school districts are now scrambling to implement or refine reforms to hopefully get a cut of round 2 Race To The Top same day cash loans.

Race To The Top Basics

The Race To The Top educational reforms are based on a 500-point scoring system for state educational systems. No single improvement in educational policy is worth more than 58 points – most are worth between 10 and 40 points. Making education funding a priority is worth 10 points. Demonstrating progress in closing achievement gaps is worth 30 points. Developing statewide academic standards is worth 40 points. Forty states and the District of Columbia have elected to compete for Race To The Top funds. Awards to schools are based on student population, and are ultimately determined by the Department of Education.

First round Race To The Top Winners

In the first round of Race To The Top awards, only two states were awarded money. Delaware and Tennessee will both receive federal Race To The Top money. Delaware will be awarded about $107 million and Tennessee will be awarded as much as $502 million for their education budgets.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan acknowledged that with only two schools being awarded money in the Race To The Top competition, many states were left out. However, he also stated that he hopes it will “light a fire” in statehouses across the nation. The deciding factors for Delaware and Tennessee included the support of teacher’s unions and plans to increase student achievement.

States scrambling for Round 2 Race To The Top funds

The Race To The Top fund, when it was created, had relatively few rules from Congress. Arne Duncan has created a “judged” point system that weighs a state’s own reforms with the point system created for Race To The Top. Many states have expressed concerns with Race To The Top, namely that the point system favors tying a teacher or principal’s performance to student achievement.

Many other states have expressed concern that the unprecedented number of federal dollars will not be distributed to all states, leaving some wondering why the federal government hasn’t given them some of the money to lend that it has. Most states are fighting huge budget deficits, and education is often one of the first areas where cuts are made. There is still over $3 billion in Race To The Top fund, and Round 2 “winners” will be announced in June.

Sources:

ED.gov
Washington Post
ABC News

Other recent posts by bryanh