The applications for the first phase of the Race to the Top (RTT) competition have been reviewed and scored and the finalists may be announced within the next two weeks. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia submitted applications for RTT grants, and awards to the winners could range up to $700 million. U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Secretary Arne Duncan will select finalists from those applicants that demonstrate the strongest commitment to education reform as envisioned by the Secretary and President Obama.
During the week of March 15, 2010 Secretary Duncan plans to invite the selected finalists to Washington, D.C. to make presentations before the 49 peer reviewers who were chosen by USDE to review and score each application. The number of finalists will be determined by the Secretary. Each finalist will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the commitments made in the State’s RTT application. The grants are scheduled to be awarded in April 2010.
In addition to the $4 billion in federal funds for RTT authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, President Obama is proposing in his 2011 budget $900 million in grants to states and school districts to turn around low performing schools. To receive School Turnaround Grants, states and school districts must commit to using one of four models specified in the RTT requirements to improve low-performing schools: Turnaround Model, Restart Model, School Closure Model or Transformational Model.