Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Frequently Asked Questions

Colorado's Race to the Top Proposal

Last Updated: July 29, 2009

What Is Race to the Top?

Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion fund available from the U.S. Department of Education. It is one of the sources of funds available to states for preschool through postsecondary education systems through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. States that are interested in competing for a portion of the funds will be required to submit a proposal to the U.S .Department of Education.

What Are the Requirements for Race to the Top?

The USDE has released proposed requirements and guidelines concerning this grant opportunity. The public comment period is currently underway. A final Request for Proposals or RFP is expected to be released in September 2009, with state proposals due approximately 30 days thereafter.

The USDE has indicated that it currently intends to release the funds in two phases. Phase I will make grants to a limited number of states for a total amount of funds equal to approximately 10 percent of the total $4.35 billion. Sometime in spring 2010, a second RFP is expected to be issued, through which states may apply for the balance of Race to the Top funds. USDE has stated that those states that are successful in Phase I are not necessarily guaranteed success in Phase II, and states that do not receive an award in Phase I are not precluded from receiving an award in Phase II.

While we do not know what will be included in the Race to the Top RFP, the USDE has indicated that it will solicit proposals from states that seek to advance four key assurance areas. They are:

  1. Making progress toward college-and-career-ready standards and rigorous assessments that will improve teaching and learning.
  2. Improving student learning, teacher performance and college-and-career readiness through longitudinal data systems.
  3. Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and ensuring that all students have highly qualified teachers.
  4. Improving achievement in low-performing schools by providing intensive support and effective interventions in schools that most need them.

Who will decide what is included in the Race to the Top proposal?

USDE has stated that the proposals for Race to the Top funds will be submitted by the governor of each state. Therefore, Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. will ultimately decide what will be included in Colorado's proposal. Gov. Ritter has tapped Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien to lead the effort to craft a winning proposal for the state.

Will the governor consider others' ideas for inclusion in the Race to the Top proposal?

Yes! Any and all interested citizens are invited to participate in the following ways:

Participate in a public committee: The lieutenant governor has created four committees, each one focused upon one of the four assurance areas listed previously. Each committee has two co-chairs, one from the Colorado Department of Education and the other from the private sector. The names of these co-chairs will be made public in late-June. To participate, simply visit the lieutenant governor's Web site and select the committee(s) you wish to join. Plans for these committees are still being finalized, however we anticipate the committees to begin meeting soon after the draft RFP is released - currently anticipated in early July - and meet periodically over a series of weeks to provide suggestions to the governor in time for them to be considered for inclusion in the final proposal - currently anticipated to be due in September 2009.

Submit Ideas in Writing: In addition to participating in the public committee process, ideas for initiatives that address the four assurance areas, are grounded in evidence of effectiveness and are appropriate for state action may be submitted in writing to lieutenant governor or to the Colorado Department of Education.


Race to the Top Committee Process Recommendation Template: Committee

Race to the Top Committee Process Recommendation Template: Public

Want More Information?

Information about funds available through the ARRA for K-12 education in Colorado is available on the CDE Web site at: