“America will not succeed in the 21st century unless we do a far better job of educating our sons and daughters… And the race starts today. I am issuing a challenge to our nation’s governors and school boards, principals and teachers, businesses and non-profits, parents and students: if you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and assessments; if you put outstanding teachers at the front of the classroom; if you turn around failing schools – your state can win a Race to the Top grant that will not only help students outcompete workers around the world, but let them fulfill their God-given potential.”
President Barack Obama
July 24, 2009
The Race to the Top emphasizes the following reform areas:
Designing and implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments
- by encouraging states to work jointly toward a system of common academic standards that builds toward college and career readiness, and that includes improved assessments designed to measure critical knowledge and higher-order thinking skills.
Attracting and keeping great teachers and leaders in America’s classrooms
- by expanding effective support to teachers and principals; reforming and improving teacher preparation; revising teacher evaluation, compensation, and retention policies to encourage and reward effectiveness; and working to ensure that our most talented teachers are placed in the schools and subjects where they are needed the most.
Supporting data systems that inform decisions and improve instruction
- by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, assessing and using data to drive instruction, and making data more accessible to key stakeholders.
Using innovation and effective approaches to turn-around struggling schools
- by asking states to prioritize and transform persistently low-performing schools.
Demonstrating and sustaining education reform
- by promoting collaborations between business leaders, educators, and other stakeholders to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps, and by expanding support for high-performing public charter schools, reinvigorating math and science education, and promoting other conditions favorable to innovation and reform.