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Knowledge From the Field

Race to the Top: Colorado May Be Used to High Altitudes But Can It Compete in Race to the Top?

Published: August 2009

Publisher(s): National Council on Teacher Quality

Author(s): Walsh, Kate; Sandi Jacobs

Funder(s): Colorado Children's Campaign, Donnell-Kay Foundation, Piton Foundation, Public Education & Business Coalition

View Report (52 pages; 993KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: General

Abstract: This report describes seven strategies for school reform proposals that could potentially win funding for Colorado from the Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTT) initiative. The report recommends specific actions to be taken by government and local education agencies, provides financial estimates for programs, and identifies implications for rural districts. It also offers examples of where Colorado needs to improve statewide teacher quality and recommendations for writing winning proposals.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= Among other recommendations, RTT proposals should address all four key aspects of reform, have significant groundwork in place already in the state, involve the legislature in preparation, call for state-wide initiatives, and be organized by someone whose role is solely the reform project.

= The “best bet” for an RTT-winning strategy is a program management program.

= Successful proposals could also include programs focusing on the equitable distribution of teachers, teacher induction, or compensation reform, teaching in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, state-aided adoption of an effective curriculum, or educator preparation (including alternative certification).

= Programs to avoid include those that represent “business as usual,” such as professional development initiatives that are not grounded in a specific strategy, reductions in class size, and technology acquisition that is not tied to a relevant initiative.

Geographic Focus: Colorado, National

Subjects/Keywords : ARRA funds; Race to the Top; R2T; RTT; teacher quality; increasing teacher effectiveness; performance-based incentive; leadership development; school reform; proposal writing

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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