USDOE Releases Race to the Top Efforts for 2010-funded States

The U.S. Department of Education released progress report information for the 12 states that received Race to the Top funding in 2010.  The specific summaries highlight the reform efforts and initiatives each state is implementing along with challenges along the way.  Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee developed aggressive plans for statewide reform and secured funding for the work.

"Race to the Top states have made tremendous strides in this first year," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  "These twelve states have acted with courage and commitment in taking on ambitious education reform.  Their year one work has helped lay the foundatoin for long-term, statewide improvements centered on doing what's best for students."

Many states have provided staff training on the Common Core State Standards and are offering a variety of resources to support teachers for implementation.  Transition planning and professional learning communities also are seen in state plans as they move to the rigorous academic standards.  Teacher and principal evaluation systems are being revised using multiple measures including student growth.  Several states are ramping up their statewide longitudinal data systems to ensure information is shared, analyzed and utilized to impact student achievement.  Other areas of reform include building state and local capacity for reform, turning around low-performing schools and creating a new induction and mentoring program for first- and second-year teachers that focuses on a data-driven coaching model.

Challenges noted include political and leadership changes which led to a non-seamless transition causing delays in implementation.  Other bumps in the road included labor-management issues related to persistently lowest-achieving schools and the ability to provide support.  Although Race to the Top offered millions in funding, states noted that budget deficits impacted their implementation efforts and timelines.  Some had to reduce the number of districts to receive training as well as a lack of capacity at the state level to coordinate multiple new projects.  Some noted procurement and hiring processes caused additional delays which resulted in contract delays and setbacks in hiring key personnel. Others found simply communicating with all stakeholders and coordinating activites was a challenge.  Finally, states noted that local district perceptions regarding their true needs was an unexpected challenge.

Read more about each state's accomplishments, challenges and strategies for moving forward at:  http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/performance.html