Starting this week, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina can apply for a share of the $200 million Race to the Top round three fund. The nine round two finalists are invited to submit applications tailored to support a portion of their Race to the Top plan, including a meaningful investment in advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Race to the Top round three will enable these nine states to further their reform efforts already underway and help them get better faster.”
States will apply in two parts. First, applicants will submit a portfolio of assurances confirming their commitment to comprehensively reform education across their state. Assurances will include information such as state funding for education and efforts to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, and improve evaluation systems.
Once assurances are reviewed and approved by the Department, states will be eligible to submit part two, a detailed plan and budget explaining how the selected reform effort will have a broader impact in supporting student learning and improving STEM education. Proposed STEM investments can be incorporated from a state’s round two plan by selecting a dedicated STEM activity or including a STEM focus within one of Race to the Top’s four core education reform areas:
- Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace;
- Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction;
- Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
- Turning around persistently lowest-performing schools.
Available funding will allow for awards ranging from around $12 million to $49 million, depending on state population. Amounts will adjust based on the number of participating states that successfully meet assurance requirements. Full participation will make available awards of up to $12.25 million for Colorado, Louisiana, South Carolina and Kentucky; $17.5 million for Arizona; $28 million for Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and $49 million for California.
Applicants must submit part one by November 22, followed by part two by December 16. Awards will be announced in late December.
Race to the Top, announced by President Obama in 2009, has been a catalyst to nationwide education reform efforts and generated widespread participation with 46 states and the District of Columbia submitting applications between rounds one and two. The Obama Administration’s 2012 budget proposal includes a request to continue investing in K-12 education reform through a $900 million district-level Race to the Top competition.