Funding & Policy | News

25 Districts Take $120 Million in Race to the Top-District Grants

Five districts and consortia representing 25 individual school districts are receiving a combined total of $120 million in federal funds through the Race to the Top-District program.

The winners, announced this week, were selected from among 80 finalist districts representing 21 states. Rural districts fared extremely well in the latest round of RTTT-D funding. Consortium winners included the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, representing 18 rural districts, and South Carolina's Clarendon County School District 2, representing four rural districts. Individual district winners included Clarksdale Municipal School District in Mississippi, Springdale Public Schools in Arkansas and Houston Independent School District in Texas.

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.

"These winners serve as an example to the rest of the country for how to develop innovative plans to drive education reform and improve student achievement," United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a prepared statement. "These diverse, trailblazing districts have a clear vision and track record of success for models of personalized learning that aim for every child to graduate from high school ready for college and careers."

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 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

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