The United States Department of Education's Race to the Top District (RTTD) competition is a new way that the federal government is encourading innovation. This competition let districts, rather than states, apply and its goal is to promote local solutions and personalized learning.
For instance, New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD) in California won $28 million over four years to expand programs and activities. These programs and activites include:
- hiring additional literacy, math and assessment coaches to help teachers use data to personalize instruction for students and leadership development,
- buying mini tablets for every two elementary school students and for each middle and high school student,
- hiring IT professionals to support the technology, and
- expanding online courses for high school students and to reduce class sizes for English learners.
Click here to see NHUSD educators speak how they expect the grant to positivly affect teaching and learning.
In addition to New Haven Unified school districts, there were 15 other RTTD winners including three charter school organizations, traditional districts such as Carson City, Nev., and Guilford County, N.C., and a group of 22 rural districts from Kentucky
Federal policymakers could also consider additional funding support to help states and districts address some of the most difficult aspects of teacher evaluation, such as developing professional development models or effective non-tested grades and subject (NTGS) assessments. Such grants could help states and school districts with new ways to innovation and new ways to approach evaluation programs to replicate elsewhere. A funding stream such as or similar to the Department’s Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) is one such possibility.