On June 24, 2009, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a $4.35 billion competitive grant fund named the Race to the Top Fund. The competition, created by the U.S. Department of Education, was created to promote innovation and improvement in state and local K-12 education. The program was funded by the ED Recovery Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. States were awarded funds for achieving performance standards, implementing reforms, complying with Common Core Standards, building comprehensive data systems and turning around low performing schools. The goal for this plan is to trail-blaze effective reform efforts and reward states and districts for implementing these reforms. In 2012, President Obama announced a $400 million expansion of the program, known as the Race to the Top District competition.
State applications for funding were graded on a 500 point scale and was awarded in three rounds of applications and awards. The selection criteria was based on seven areas: A. State Success Factors – (125 Points) This area awarded points for a state’s ability to show their reform agenda, the state’s ability to implement these reform efforts and a dedication to closing achievement gaps and raising achievement. B. Read More