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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama to Announce Plans for "Race to the Top" Expansion

As first deadline approaches for Challenge applications, President announces $1.35 billion in 2011 budget committed to reforming and strengthening America’s public schools

WASHINGTON, DC -- President Obama will visit Graham Road Elementary tomorrow in Fairfax County where he will announce his plans to continue the Race to the Top challenge, requesting $1.35 billion for the program in his FY 2011 budget.

As the first deadline approaches for states to apply for the challenge, the President’s plan will support further incentives for states to revise, strengthen and implement their plans for education reform in order to qualify for an award under the program. This plan will also invigorate district-level reform by expanding the Race to the Top beyond just states but to school districts ready to embark on system-wide improvement of their educations policies and practices.

The continuation of the Race to the Top, which is one of the largest investments in education reform in history, is just one part of a larger education reform agenda that the Administration will unveil in the coming weeks, including continuation of the Race to the Top’s companion program, the Invest in Innovation Fund.

“We want to challenge everyone -- parents, teachers, school administrators -- to raise standards, by having the best teachers and principals, by tying student achievement to assessments of teachers, by making sure that there's a focus on low-performing schools, by making sure our students are prepared for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace,” said President Obama.

“This competition has generated an overwhelming response from over 30 states in just the first round of funding. By continuing, we have an opportunity to create incentives for far-reaching improvement in our nation's schools,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

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 increase the number of effective teachers in our schools; and ensuring that our most talented teachers are placed in the schools and subjects where they are needed the most.
  • Using data to inform decisions and improve instruction, by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, training and supporting educators to use data to improve instruction, and making information more accessible to parents, teachers and other 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 among 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. 

A fact sheet is attached.