Race to the Top, the U.S. Education Department's $4.35 billion contest, is getting personal. The competition this year opens $400 million in grant money to school districts -- and not states, like in previous rounds -- with a focus on "personalized learning," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce Tuesday.
"With this competition, we are inviting districts to show us how they can personalize education for a set of students in their schools," Duncan said in a statement. The competition -- President Barack Obama's signature education program -- is "aimed squarely at the classroom level and the all-important relationship among teachers and students," Duncan said. School districts in Houston and Los Angeles have confirmed that they're in. Sacramento's mayor Kevin Johnson signaled his interest in a statement to The Huffington Post. Chicago, Newark and Las Vegas are also reportedly interested. !--break--
The new guidelines require ways to connect student-level data with college outcomes; evaluations that include tests for teachers, principals, school boards and superintendents; a focus on school overhauls; and the agreement of local teachers' unions.
A senior Education Department official told reporters on a conference call Monday evening that "personalized