The Department of Education has awarded several rounds of Race to the Top grants.
This competition was a little different.
In the past the grants were given to states who awarded the money to districts. This time individual districts had to apply directly to the federal government.
Three Ohio districts made it on to a list of about 60 finalists, but none from Ohio were among the 16 winning districts.
And Reynoldsburg City Schools near Columbus just narrowly missed out. Its application – which stressed individualized student instruction – scored a 195. The lowest winning district scored a 196.33.
“This is a human process,” says education secretary Arne Duncan. He says he can never be sure the right districts were picked, but he has faith in the more than 300 peer reviewers who evaluated the applications.
White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz says there were many districts that had great applications but still weren’t awarded any money.
“We had a lot more high quality applications than we were able to fund,” she says. “We had to stop due to funding limitations. So [Reynoldsburg Schools] had a very high quality, high scoring application.”
The winners will split the $400 million grant with awards ranging from $10 million to $40 million per district.