Funding & Policy | News

80 Districts Finalists in $120 Million RTTT-D Grant Program

The United States Department of Education has revealed the finalists for its 2013 Race to the Top–District competitive grant program. The finalists, who will compete for $120 million in federal grants, include 80 districts spread over 21 states.

Race to the Top is a federal program focused on driving changes in public schools through competitive grants to states, with an eye toward reforming academic standards, investing in teachers and education leadership, improving achievement in schools whose students have performed poorly on standardized tests, and developing data systems that follow students from "cradle to career." Race to the Top–District is a program within the Race to the Top initiative that is designed to support "local reforms that will personalize learning, close achievement gaps, and prepare each student for college and their careers." Through the program, grants are provided directly to local education agencies or consortia of LEAs.

Thirty-one applicants (some representing multiple districts) were chosen as finalists for the 2013 competition. From that pool, ED will select five to 10 winning applicants, who will receive four-year grants worth $4 million to $30 million apiece.

According to ED: "Grantees will be selected based on their vision and capacity for reform as well as a strong plan that provides educators with resources to accelerate student achievement and prepare students for college and their careers. Plans will focus on transforming the learning environment so that it meets all students' learning abilities, making equity and access to high-quality education a priority. Teachers will receive real-time feedback that helps them adapt to their students' needs, allowing them to create opportunities for students to pursue areas of personal academic interest that prepare them for success in their future."

Partnerships between public and private organizations will receive a competitive preference.

"This year's finalists created innovative plans, to drive education reform and improve student achievement, that serve as an example for the rest of the country," said Arne Duncan, secretary of education, in a prepared statement. "This competition supports local efforts of diverse, trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college and career ready. No matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists."

A list of finalists can be viewed in PDF format on ED's site. Winners are expected to be announced by New Year's Eve. Further details about the program are available on

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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