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On January 19th, 40 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications to the Department of Education to compete in our Race to the Top grant program. Because this historic $4 billion program is unlike anything we have ever done, we enhanced our discretionary grant process to ensure maximum integrity and transparency.

Here’s how the process works.

As with any federal program, Congress spells out the overall goals, but the Department establishes regulations and guidance. We developed a competitive system for applicants showing exactly how many points each applicant will receive for every measure of progress a state has achieved, every reform implemented, and every commitment made. For example, states get five points for identifying their lowest-achieving schools and 35 points for turning them around.

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