Race to the Top Education

​What is Race to the Top?

Race to the Top, (RttT), is a $4.35 billion, U.S. Dept. of Education competition! Introduced in 2009, the initiative was designed to encourage and reward states for spurring reforms in state and local district K-12 education. It is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which was announced by President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Race to the Top rewards states that demonstrate success in raising student achievement and have the best plans to accelerate their future reforms. Each state that was awarded grant money from the RttT fund provided detailed documentation on their plans. Some states award money only to school districts that participated in the RttT application process for their state.

Major initiative reforms and innovations defined by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) are:

  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
  • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.


Awards in Race to the Top go to states that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come. (Source: USDOE)

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