Fact Sheet: Empowering States to Transform the Education Landscape
News Release from US DoE, November 12, 2015
In today's increasingly global, knowledge-based economy, education has never been more important. Students need to master important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and team work in order to be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow and to lead fulfilling, successful lives. Over the past six years, the U.S. Department of Education has empowered states to develop locally tailored solutions to ensure students—regardless of disability, race, zip code, or family income—graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and life.
The Department is helping to support the transformation of the education landscape by working with states, districts, and educators to put in place the building blocks for schools to provide a world-class education for all students including, students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, English learners, and other traditionally underserved populations. Over the course of the Obama Administration, the Department has provided states with resources and flexibility aimed at supporting state-level innovation and spurring change at the local level. Today, the Department released two reports documenting how states and school districts have responded to this new way of doing business at the Department of Education through two of the Administration's signature initiatives: Fundamental Change: Innovation in America's Schools under Race to the Top, and School Improvement Grants National Summary: School Year 2012-13.
Race to the Top: Spurring Comprehensive Reforms
Race to the Top supported the most comprehensive, far-reaching reform of public schools in a generation, improving how students are prepared for success in school and in life. With an investment of $4 billion—less than 1 percent of total federal education funding—Race to the Top was a catalyst for change for more than 10 million students and 700,000 teachers in the first two rounds of the grant competition and for many more students and teachers in states that applied for the grant but that did not receive funding.
Fundamental Change: Innovation in America's Schools under Race to the Top focuses on the 11 states (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee) and the District of Columbia that received funding in the first two rounds of the competition. Race to the Top enabled these states to transform education by implementing their own ideas and plans in four key areas:
- Establishing high college- and career-ready standards
- Developing and supporting great teachers and leaders
- Leveraging data systems and technology to improve instruction
- Turning around the lowest-performing schools
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Fundamental Change: Innovation in America's Schools under Race to the Top