RTT is the DOE's $4.35 billion effort to re-shape America's educational system so as to better engage and prepare students for success in a competitive twenty-first century economy. Nine second-round finalists — Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina — have been invited to apply for $200 million in funding to support a portion of their previously established RTT plan.
States competing for funding in this round will be expected to submit an application that both demonstrates a commitment to education reform and contains a detailed budget and narrative explaining how their plan will have the greatest impact on the state's education system, including a description of their plan to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Final award sizes will be determined by each state's population and plan. Under current proposals, Colorado, Louisiana, South Carolina and Kentucky are eligible to apply for up to $12.25 million; Arizona can apply for up to $17.5 million; Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are eligible for up to $28 million; and California can apply for up to $49 million.
The Department of Education expects that proposals will express a commitment to the four reform areas that define Race to the Top: the adoption of standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace; building data systems that measure student growth and success and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction; recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals; and turning around consistently low-performing schools.
"Through Race to the Top, these nine states helped lead the way in laying the groundwork for key education reform around the country," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We look forward to working with them in round three as they continue their work and transform their plans into significant investments that improve education for more students."