In order to run a rigorous competition and obligate funds to grantees before December 31, 2012, the Department of Education (the Department) plans to waive formal rulemaking on this new program, pursuant to its authority in the General Education Provisions Act. However, the Department is very interested in your input. We encourage all interested parties to submit opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments pertaining to the Race to the Top District (RTT-D) competition described below. Though the Department will not respond to comments, the Department will read and consider all comments in finalizing the RTT-D competition design.
The Race to the Top State competition incentivized bold and comprehensive reform in elementary and secondary education and laid the foundation for unprecedented innovation. A total of 46 States and the District of Columbia put together comprehensive plans to implement college- and career-ready standards, use data systems to guide teaching and learning, evaluate and support teachers and school leaders, and turn around their lowest-performing schools. The Race to the Top District competition (RTT-D) will build on the lessons learned from the State-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness.
More specifically, RTT-D will reward those LEAs that have the leadership and vision to implement the strategies, structures and systems of support to move beyond one-size–fits-all models of schooling, which have struggled to produce excellence and equity for all children, to personalized, student-focused approaches to teaching and learning that will use collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports tailored to the needs and goals of each student, with the goal of enabling all students to graduate college- and career-ready.
Successful LEAs will provide the information, tools, and supports that enable teachers to truly differentiate instruction and meet the needs of each child. These LEAs will have the policy and systems infrastructure, capacity, and culture to enable teachers, teacher teams and school leaders to continuously focus on improving individual student achievement. They will organize around the goal of each child demonstrating content and skills mastery and credentialing required for college and career and will allow students significantly more freedom to study and advance at their own pace - both in and out of school. As importantly, they will create opportunities for students to identify and pursue areas of personal passion-- all of this occurring in the context of ensuring that each student demonstrates mastery in critical areas identified in college- and career ready standards. LEAs successfully implementing this approach to teaching and learning will lay the modern blueprint for raising student achievement, decreasing the achievement gap across student groups, and increasing the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.