The U.S. Department of Education released the final criteria/application package for its $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund. Grants from this fund will be awarded to states that “have raised student performance in the past and have the capacity to accelerate achievement gains with innovative reforms.” In their applications states must outline their plans for reform in these four areas: college- and career-ready standards and assessments, highly effective educators, data systems that support student achievement, and turning around their lowest-performing schools. States will also get competitive preference if they have a comprehensive STEM plan in place.
Grant awards will be based on a state’s student population and potential funding amounts for each state are as follows:
- Category 1 – $350-700 million (California, Texas, New York, Florida)
- Category 2 – $200-400 million (Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey)
- Category 3 – $150-250 million (Virginia, Arizona, Indiana, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin)
- Category 4 – $60-175 million (Minnesota, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, Connecticut, Utah, Mississippi, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Nevada)
- Category 5 – $20-75 million (New Mexico, Nebraska, Idaho, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, District of Columbia)
The deadline for states to apply for the first round of grants is January 19, 2010 with those grants being awarded in the spring of 2010. States have until June 1, 2010 to apply or reapply for the second round of grants, which will be awarded in the fall of 2010.
You can access more information at the Department’s Race to the Top webpage, including the application, today’s press release, a summary of the major changes made based on comments received, and the Department’s responses to comments received.