In order to reshape the nation's education system, President Obama will speak at a Virginia elementary school on Tuesday asking for an additional $1.35 billion in the FY 2011 budget for his "Race to the Top" program. The program already has $4 billion in incentives from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The President also plans to expand "Race to the Top" beyond states to school districts.
The program encourages states to work toward a system of common academic standards for college and career readiness as well as attracting and retaining teachers. States are asked to prioritize and transform low performing schools as well as coordinate efforts amongst business leaders and educators to find ways to raise student achievement.
A senior administration official says there are no pre-determined number of grants that will be awarded during this first round but describes the process as "competitive" with over 90 criteria involved in the application. The official emphasized that only be small portion of those applying will be rewarded. "Only those states that really submit a highly competitive plan that addresses all elements of those reforms will be the ones that will be best positioned for a grant."
Thirty states have until Tuesday to submit their applications. Winners will be announced in April and those who don't receive a grant this spring can re-apply for the second round in June.