Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ED Seeks Public Comments on the 2012 Race to the Top Competition

Last week, the Department of Education (ED) announced proposed criteria for the 2012 Race to the Top (RTT) program. This year’s competition is aimed at school districts and intends to focus on improving individual classroom instruction in order to improve academic achievement and prepare students for college and career. ED has proposed its initial criteria for the 2012 competition and is accepting public comments until June 8th.

The proposed district-level competition is a more local effort compared to previous RTT competitions, which have funded statewide efforts to coordinate and align resources in order to improve student achievement. This year’s competition will target local districts and encourage change within individual schools, allowing schools to do things such as improve the instructional abilities of teachers, offer students new instructional materials, enhance student-teacher relationships and develop strategies to effectively manage budgets. Though much more focused on individual schools, teachers and students, this year’s competition remains focused on RTT’s core principles: high academic standards, data-driven decision making, enhanced support for teachers and the transformation of persistently low-performing schools.

ED has proposed inviting applications from districts (or groups of districts) that serve at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Districts must choose to apply for funding that will target the development of improved learning strategies in all or a set of schools, within specific grade levels or within select subjects. ED has also proposed offering competitive preference to applicants that partner with public and private organizations, allowing schools to offer services that will help meet the academic, social and emotional needs of students.

To review or comment on the Race to the Top – District Level proposal, please click here. Public comment ends June 8th with the application expected to be released in July.

Please stay tuned to our blog for updates about the 2012 Race to the Top competition.

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