Race to the Top (RTTT) is a $4 billion competitive grant program authorized under ARRA, and administered through the U. S. Department of Education. Maryland submitted its application on June 1 and is eligible to receive up to $250 million. Thirty-five applications were submitted for the Round 2 funding and only about 15 will become finalists. Decisions will not be made by the US Dept. of Education until September.
The program seeks to encourage and reward states that are implementing significant reforms around four specific areas: (1) adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy; (2) building data systems that measure student growth and success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve instruction; (3) recruiting, developing, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and (4) turning around the lowest-achieving schools. Using specified criteria, the U.S. Secretary of Education will determine which states receive grants and the amounts of the grants.
Round 1 applications were due in January 2010. In March 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Delaware and Tennessee will receive RTTT awards based on their Round 1 applications. Maryland decided not to apply in Round 1 and to instead wait for Round 2 in order to strengthen its application.
Twenty-Two of Maryland’s 24 school systems participated in the application along with the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Prince George’s County Education Association. The State Board of Education voted unanimously to apply for the grant. State Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Grasmick stated, “We have learned a lot about what works when it comes to school reform, and we are poised to focus attention where our schools need it most. Our reforms are student-centered. Our ultimate goal is to have each high school graduate leave school prepared for higher education or the world of work. There is no more important mission facing education.”
Click here for more information and to view the application.