Race to the Top District (RTT-D) Summary

On May 22, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released draft requirements for the Race to the Top for Districts Competition (RTT-D). ED will award $400 million to 20 applicants. The number of students participating in the program will determine funding. ED may issue grants of up to $25 million. Applicants may be a part of a State that won a Race to the Top grant in prior competitions.

The competition will focus on personalized, student-focused approaches to teaching and learning that will use collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports. Eligible applicants include only individual local educational agencies (LEAs) including charter schools that are their own LEA and consortia of LEAs. Applicant(s) must annually serve a minimum of 2,500 participating students.

There are many notable aspects to the grant covered in depth below. Three aspects deserve particular consideration. First, ED is waiving the formal rulemaking on this program. The opportunity for comments will be informal, submitted on the RTT-D website http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition. The opportunity for comment will be open until 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, June 8, 2012. We encourage you to contact us to help draft comments on the draft rules.

Second, the competition provides competitive preference to applicants that form a coherent and sustainable partnership with public and private organizations, businesses, philanthropies, civic groups, and other community-based organizations, early learning programs, and post-secondary institutions to support their plan. Note, however, that grantees must make Requests for Information (RFIs) and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) public and open for other LEAs, consistent with the requirements of State and local law.

Third, the program includes new definitions for superintendent and school board evaluations that must be in place by 2014-2015 school year. These evaluations are in addition to required teacher and principal evaluations.

To provide a helpful summary of the program‰'s details, the team at Whiteboard advisors developed the attached one-page overview and detailed summary of the new competition. We hope you find this information valuable in understanding the new opportunities afforded by the program. Please reach out to David DeSchyrver, VP of Education Policy, with further questions. We look forward to hearing from you!