Investing in Educator Capacity: An Analysis of State Race to the Top Spending


By Sargrad, S., Batel, S., Lazarín, M., and Brown, C.

Center for American Progress

Publication December, 2015
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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) directed nearly $100 billion to restore education budgets, reward innovation, and advance reforms. In addition to helping local districts retain staff, increasing student financial aid, and aiding low-income public school students, a Race to the Top (RttT) competitive state grant program was instituted to spur K-12 education improvements, using less than 5% of the total education stimulus package.

Thirty-four states modified state laws and policies to be eligible for the grants, thirty-five states and the District of Columbia adopted Common Core Standards. ARRA also authorized the RttT Assessment Program, funding two consortia of states to develop high-quality assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards.

This report examines the RttT program’s effect in the winning states over the course of their grants, through interviews with SEA officials and publicly available state spending data and policy reports. The report findings include increased state capacity and redefined roles of SEAs, unprecedented collaboration across states and districts, and bold new approaches to turning around low-performing schools. SEAs spent less than 10% of the RttT funds on educator evaluation systems, and more than half of the funds on systems, programs and supports that directly benefit educators.

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