Race to the Top is the DOE's $4.35 billion effort to dramatically re-shape America's educational system to better engage and prepare students for success in a competitive twenty-first century economy and workplace. States competing for the almost $3.4 billion remaining in Race to the Top funds were asked to document past education reform successes and outline their plans to extend reforms using college and career-ready standards and assessments, build a workforce of highly effective educators, create educational data systems to support student achievement, and turn around their lowest-performing schools. President Obama has requested $1.35 billion for the Race to the Top program in the administration's fiscal 2011 budget.
Chosen from a pool of thirty-six applicants, the round two finalists are Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. The finalists will travel to Washington, D.C., the week of August 9 to present their plans to the peer reviewers who scored their applications, with the winners to be announced in September.
"Peer reviewers identified these nineteen finalists as having the boldest plans, but every state that applied will benefit from this process of collaboratively creating a comprehensive education reform agenda," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Much of the federal dollars we distribute though other channels can support their plan to raise standards, improve teaching, use data more effectively to support student learning, and turn around underperforming schools."