Education Funding

Race to the Top at 5: States’ Spending Plans

By Lauren Camera — July 24, 2014 5 min read
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Race to the Top—the Obama administration’s signature education-redesign initiative—officially turns 5 years old at the end of July. The anniversary marks the time period in which competition winners were supposed to finish spending their last competitive-grant dollars and implementing their proposed education policy changes. Most states, however, secured a one-year, no-cost extension from the U.S. Department of Education to continue spending their winnings through a fifth year in order to finalize specific policy overhauls.

“We all underestimated the amount of time and capacity it would take to do some of the procurements and change in managements associated with implementation,” said Ann Whalen, director of the department’s policy and program implementation and support unit, in a recent interview about the impact of Race to the Top in Tennessee.

Whalen’s point is salient for every Race to the Top winner. Changes in governorships and state education chiefs, as well as states’ difficulty enlisting the right vendors and lengthy negotiations with teachers’ unions, all contributed to delayed timelines.

See Also

Related: EdWeek’s opinion bloggers are reflecting on the Race to the Top program, now five years old. Read their posts.

Notably, Hawaii is the only state that did not request an extension and is currently on track to complete its proposed changes, despite a rocky start that included being placed on “high-risk” status by the department. But some states, including Florida, Georgia, and New York, still have hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent Race to the Top money.

What’s Left in States’ Tanks?

Here is an overview of the amount of money states have left, almost all of which is already obligated for specific purposes. Included are examples of how they intend to use the last of their winnings over the next year.

Amount Remaining: $88 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: $31 million will go directly to districts for district-level initiatives, such as science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, programs and teacher development; $57 million will be used to continue state-wide efforts, such as Common Core State Standards training.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension from Education Department: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $11 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts, such as linking student achievement to teacher-preparation programs, continuing professional development on the common core, and expanding alternative-teaching certification.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $4.5 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward continuing the development of a website of common-core resources and expanding a district-wide system to strengthen capacity to support low-performing schools and highlight best practices.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $146.7 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts at the state level to implement a new teacher-evaluation system and develop instructional tools and lesson models, and at the district level to bolster technology for improved instruction and assessment, extend various STEM-related initiatives, and increase diversity in the teaching force.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $140.3 million*

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts, including a new performance-evaluation system, initiatives to increase the number of math and science teachers, and a competitive innovation fund for school districts.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

*As estimated by the U.S. Department of Education

Amount Remaining: $5.6 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts, such as community engagement, standards and assessments, technology support, and teacher and principal evaluations.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: No

Funding Expiration Date: Dec. 22, 2014

Amount Remaining: $72.5 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts in 18 state projects, including assessments aligned to the common-core standards and professional development. They will also go toward eight projects across four districts, including several that focus on ramping up technology in schools for testing purposes.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $41.8 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: $27 million will be used by the state education department for ongoing state initiatives, including teacher-preparation programs and professional-development systems; $7.8 million will be distributed to districts for programs, including a school discipline data-tracking system; $7 million will be used by the state’s executive office of education on technology-related initiatives.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $283.1 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts, including teacher preparation, new teacher- and principal-evaluation systems, school turnaround initiatives, and early-learning programs.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $87.5 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward the continued development of the North Carolina Teachers Corps, new teacher- and principal-evaluation systems, a project involving virtual public schools, professional development, and efforts to turn around low-performing schools.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $77.9 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: $34 million will go to school districts for various initiatives, including one on personalized learning; $43.9 million will be used by the state; of that money going to the state, $24.6 million is not yet allocated, and the rest will go in part to continue efforts to implement new teacher- and principal-evaluation systems.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

Amount Remaining: $9.7 million

Plans for Remaining Grant: Funds will go toward existing efforts, including the development of data dashboards, professional development at the district level, and efforts to turn around low-performing schools.

One-Year, No-Cost Extension: Yes

Funding Expiration Date: Sept. 1, 2015

A version of this article appeared in the August 06, 2014 edition of Education Week as Race to the Top: What’s Left in the Bank

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