This spring, rumors swirled around a possibility of district-level NCLB waivers. Now, the U.S. Department of Education is offering districts the opportunity to apply for pieces of a new $400 million-valued Race to the Top grant. Applications are due October 30 for districts wishing to receive between $5 million and $40 million.
As of right now, this is a great way for districts to gain some autonomy for their schools and receive grants for innovative ideas that could push their low-performing schools into the HPHP (high-poverty, high-performing) threshold. The big focus here is on personalized learning. A lot of the policies that districts will need to adopt to do a better job at that are the very same conditions that we have identified as important for school turnaround.
Good luck to all districts that choose to apply!