Skip to main content

Year three of Race to the Top shows continued progress

THURSDAY, APRIL 03, 2014 13:47 PM

Race to the Top is a government initiative that rewards schools that perform well academically and take the initiative to improve. The program is currently in its third phase, and the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that states have shown continued progress since the program's inception. The District of Columbia and 11 states received grants during phase one and two, and the announcement covered the ups and downs these states have faced.

Making progress
Delaware, New York, Ohio, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee were the states awarded a grant in 2010 for education. Since then they have been able to provide tools, support and resources to schools and educators to help them teach more effectively.

"We know this work isn't easy, but what has been most encouraging is that state and district leaders have had the courage to put these plans into action, and teachers and principals have shown up day after day with the same goal that we all share: making sure every single student is prepared to be successful in college and in their careers," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. 

Individual progress
At the onset of their participation in Race to the Top, each state created its own set of goals. Therefore, the states' progress cannot be compared directly to one another, only to their starting points. Schools in each state met the benchmarks, such as achieving higher test scores and offering more AP courses, that they set when they first joined the initiative. 

Phase three of Race to the Top focuses on continued improvement, quality of education and the implementation of state-specific goals. Reports from the Department of Education show that the 11 participating states have accomplished these milestones and continue to push forward. 

Goals of Common Core and Race to the Top
Both the Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top initiative aim to better prepare kids for college and career success. They promote critical thinking skills, a broader push toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and the use of challenging curriculum. Race to the Top and the Common Core make meeting these goals a possibility by providing states, teachers and school districts with the support they need to implement new programs. That's why Race to the Top awards states educational grants.

Schools that receive Race to the Top funding must submit monthly progress updates, and meetings held by the state education boards feature analysis of these monthly reports. The information helps educators see the areas where students are excelling and where the programs need tweaking.