Education watchers can—and do—argue over whether President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top grants have improved education for American students. But as a straight policy lever, a new study finds the $4.5 billion competition had a big impact.
A study in Education Next tracked, from 2001 to 2014, the implementation of statewide laws and policies in 20 areas that explicitly aligned with Race to the Top’s requirements. These included systems to measure student-achievement growth and teacher and principal evaluations that took student-achievement data into account.
States adopted few of those policies before the competition. But in the years afterward, researchers saw a rapid increase in the proportion of Race to the Top-aligned policies adopted—even by states that did not apply for or win the grants.
A version of this article appeared in the August 05, 2015 edition of Education Week