The U.S. Department of Education announced today that seven states -Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania- will each receive a share of the $200 million in Race to the Top Round 3 (RTT3) fund to advance targeted K-12 reforms aimed at improving student achievement.
“These seven states are now among 22 Race to the Top winners spread out across the country that are investing in key education reforms to prepare more students for college and careers,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “Race to the Top has been a pivotal program that has generated more progress in improving our nation’s education system over the last three years than we’ve seen over the last decade. We look forward to partnering with these states to continue this important work."
The 21 states and D.C. have been awarded grants through three rounds of Race to the Top, which includes the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund. In addition to the states awarded today, Race to the Top winners are California, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington. These states serve 65 percent of the nation’s children and 59 percent of the low-income students in the country.
As runners-up in the last year’s Race to the Top competitions, nine states were eligible for round three awards to invest in a portion of their round two plans. However, South Carolina opted out and California submitted an incomplete application.
RTT3 focuses on supporting efforts to leverage comprehensive statewide reform, while also improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The seven winning applications include commitments to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, improve principal and teacher support and evaluation systems and implement school interventions in underperforming schools.
Congress recently passed an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that includes an additional $550 million for Race to the Top. The bill includes language that will allow the Department to create a district-level competition and continue the investment in the Early Learning Challenge.