Illinois Race to the Top
What is Race to the Top?
Race to the Top (RttT) is a federal competitive grants program that aims to accelerate key education reforms in states and districts and create the conditions for greater educational innovation and close persistent achievement gaps while increasing student achievement. Illinois was awarded a $42.8 million phase three Race to the Top grant in December 2011 after being a finalist in the competition’s first two rounds.
Overarching Goals of Illinois RttT
- Participating Districts comprehensively address the RttT requirements, leading to dramatic student growth
- Participating Districts serve as leaders of the reform agenda for the entire State
- Build capacities for statewide implementation of key initiatives and systems
The grant is being used to bolster Illinois’ ongoing work on projects and programs in four areas including:
- Adopting more rigorous standards and assessments
- Recruiting, evaluating, and retaining highly effective teachers and principals
- Building data systems that measure student success
- Building state capacity and support
35 Local Education Agencies (Participating Districts or LEAs) across the state are blazing the path by being the first to implement key reforms aimed at improving school performance and student achievement. The rules of the competition ensure that 50% of the award goes directly to the 35 Participating Districts, who serve as reform exemplars for the state. The remaining funds are being used to implement projects that benefit both the 35 Participating Districts and the state as a whole. One of ISBE’s primary goals through RttT is to support the 35 leading Participating Districts as they build the systems and processes needed to accelerate and sustain improved student outcomes, and by building capacity to extend reforms throughout the state.
16 State Projects
Illinois is implementing 16 state initiatives to ensure Participating Districts and the state overall will be well positioned to offer a top-notch education that will prepare all students for success in college, career, and in life in the 21st century. One of ISBE’s primary goals through RttT is to support the leading 35 Participating Districts that will build the systems and processes needed to accelerate and sustain improved student outcomes and building capacity to extend these initiatives statewide.