Race To The Top
December 2009
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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
$4.35 billion

States, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Type of Grant:


The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund is the largest-ever federal competitive investment in school reform. It will reward states for past accomplishments, create incentives for future improvements, and challenge states to create comprehensive strategies for addressing the four central areas of reform that will drive school improvement:

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

Awards in Race to the Top will go to states that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform in these four areas. These states will help blaze the trail for effective reforms and provide examples of them for states and local school districts throughout the country.

Timing of Applications and Awards:

The Department will hold two rounds of competitions for the grants. Applications for the first round will be due Jan. 19, 2010. Reviewers will evaluate the applications and the Department will announce the winners of the first round of funding by April 2010.

Applications for the second round will be due June 1, 2010, with the announcement of all winners being made by September 2010. States that applied for the first round of funding but were not awarded grants may reapply for the second round, together with those states that are applying for the first time. First-round winners will receive their full awards and thus may not apply for additional funding in the second round.

The Department intends to hold a separate $350 million Race to the Top Assessment competition, which will be announced at a later date.

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Last Modified: 12/29/2009