2010 Elections – Implications for Federal Competitive Grant Programs
This blog is the second in a three part series on the effects of the 2010 elections on federal education policy and implications in the First State. The first blog in the series can be found here.
The implications of the 2010 election season will be particularly pertinent to the continuation of federal competitive grant opportunities, such as Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in Innovation (i3).
In fiscal year 2010, an additional $19 billion in supplemental funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was allocated to create competitive grant opportunities for states, school districts, non-profits, and charter management organizations with innovative ideas and research-based solutions to our most complex policy and practice problems.
Delaware positioned ourselves as a national leader and were rewarded for our hard work. The state:
- Received $119 million through RTTT to engage in reform efforts at the state and local level across numerous components, including standards and assessment, data systems, great teachers and leaders, and turning around our persistently low-performing schools;
- Joined two consortia that received $330 million through the RTTT Assessment Program to develop and implement 21st century assessments aligned to the internationally benchmarked Common Core standards; and
- Received $10.5 million through the School Improvement Grants to turnaround our persistently low-performing schools, which was four times what we had received in previous years, with particular emphasis on the four schools chosen to participate in Delaware’s Partnership Zone Initiative.
In addition, numerous non-profit and charter management organizations received funds through the i3 fund that are currently operating within Delaware (including Teach For America) or are interested in expanding operations throughout the First State.
Looking ahead, the potential for continuing these programs is not yet clear, as opinions vary regarding the programs’ impact. There are those that believe these programs catalyzed unprecedented change, in areas such as teacher evaluation and rigorous standards. On the other hand, there is concern about dispersing funds in uneven ways – creating winners and losers among students in different states.
President Obama and Secretary Duncan have taken the lead in maintaining these programs in future budgets. President Obama has requested $1.35 billion in continued Race to the Top funding for fiscal year 2011. In addition, President Obama and Secretary Duncan incorporate elements of these programs within their blueprint for ESEA reauthorization.
We hope legislators can work together to craft an education reform agenda that builds on the tenets of Race to the Top and other federal competitive grant opportunities – by requiring states, districts and schools to make the tough choices that ensure all children have access to an excellent education while holding themselves accountable for results.
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