Eye on Education


Recovery.gov logo

Ohio's Race to the Top: The Basics


U.S. Department of Education

President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a student at a July 2009 press conference in Washington, D.C., announcing the Race to the Top grant program.

Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The program was designed to encourage and reward states for enacting education policies that the Obama administration believes will improve students’ results, build school and school systems’ capacities and increase school systems’ productivity and effectiveness.

In January 2011, Ohio was awarded a $400 million grant to be spent over four years. Ohio’s plan calls for the state by 2014 to:

  • Increase the high school graduation rate by 2 percentage points to 88 percent,
  • Reduce by half the gaps between white and non-white students’ graduation rates,
  • Reduce by half performance gaps between white and non-white students on state and national assessments,
  • Reduce by half the gaps between Ohio and top-performing states on national reading and math assessments, and
  • Double the projected increase in college enrollment for students age 19 and younger.

More than half of the grant ($206 million) is being funneled to 437 participating districts and charter schools for efforts tied to the state goals.

The Ohio Department of Education is spending the remaining $194 million to:

  • Build capacity to run the program,
  • Create new standards and assessments for students,
  • Use data to improve instruction (including linking students’ performance to their teachers),
  • Ensure great teachers and principals are in every school,
  • Turn around the lowest-achieving schools, and
  • Strengthen science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Latest Posts

Ohio Districts Miss Out on Latest Round of Race to the Top

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 [...]

Nearly 40 Ohio School Districts Plan to Apply for $400-Million New Race to the Top Grants

Thirty-nine Ohio school districts, charter schools and other groups have said they plan to apply for some of the $400 million the federal U.S. Department of Education will hand out under district-level Race to the Top grants. These Race to the Top grants will reward districts for “personalizing” education, having a vision for reform and being successful in the past. Districts will also get [...]

Ohio Continues to Fall Short on Providing High-Quality Preschool

Researchers and politicians on both sides of the aisle agree: good pre-kindergarten programs are essential for success in school, particularly for low income children. But for the second year in a row, state funding for pre-K has dropped nationwide. And in Ohio, the cuts have been particularly deep. StateImpact Ohio’s Molly Bloom reports.

Obama Proposes New Race to the Top, This Time, for Higher Ed

Building on the success of the K-12 Race to the Top program in encouraging states to change their education policies and systems, President Barack Obama proposed a second, $1 billion Race to the Top for America’s colleges during a speech today at the University of Michigan. Congress would need to approve the plan and, well, [...]

The Four Major Education Themes in Obama’s 2012 State of the Union

Education came second only to Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! in President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union remarks Tuesday night. Making college less expensive for students continues to be a key talking point for the Obama administration. (The president highlighted student loan “Know Before You Owe” efforts in his speech at Shaker Heights High School near [...]

Ohio One Year into Race to the Top

It’s been a year and a half since Ohio won $400 million dollars in the second round of the federal Race to the Top program. The Department of Education has taken a look at Ohio’s progress in the first full school year since then, and officials sounded pretty pleased with the state’s progress in 2010-2011. [...]

Six Ohio Education Stories to Watch in 2012

Ohio school districts to state: "Show me the money."

Here’s our take on the six education stories to watch in 2012: 1. School funding. School funding. School funding. Look for a new K-12 school funding model from Columbus in the first part of 2012. The previous model was scrapped in 2011, with the promise of a new formula for distributing state money to Ohio’s [...]

Top StateImpact Ohio Education Stories of 2011

StateImpact Ohio launched in June 2011 as your source for Ohio education news and analysis from NPR and Ohio public media. It’s been a big year for us, and for education in Ohio. How big? Let us count the ways: Issue 2 Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 in March 2011. And the successful [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »