Incentive funds (also called "Race to the Top" grants) and Innovation funds (also known as "Invest in What Works" funds) are designed to support large scale dissemination, adoption, and implementation of practices in education that are proven to increase student achievement.
Incentive and Innovation Grants
Support (at the state level) dramatic, sustained progress in student achievement
Race to the Top: SEAs and 50% passed through to LEAs; Innovation fund: LEAs, public non-profit institutions
How and When:
Funds are awarded as competitive grants; Refer to recovery.gov sites for deadlines
First and second round grants will be awarded in the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010, respectively. Through these application-driven funds, the U.S. Department of Education will support states that have made significant progress toward school reform.
The Race to the Top Incentive Fund will award $4.35 billion to states based on competitive grants. These funds will reward the demonstration of states’ progress toward the objectives described in the four SFSF assurances:
Achieving equity in teacher distribution by increasing the number (and improving the distribution) of effective teachers and principals in high-poverty schools and local educational agencies;
Improving the collection and use of data through the establishment of a longitudinal statewide data system;
Enhancing the quality of college- and career-ready standards and academic assessments, and the inclusion of children with disabilities and limited English proficiency in state assessments.
Effective interventions and intensive support of low performing schools.
States receiving Incentive grants will be required to allocate at least 50% of the funds to local
educational agencies (LEAs) in the state, based on their proportion of ESEA Title 1, Part A funding.
Innovation Fund Grants of $650 million will be competitively awarded to school districts and non-profit groups with a strong track record of results in closing the achievement gap to:
Expand successful work so that it may serve as a model for best practices;
Evaluate the scalability of promising initiatives;
Support partnerships between educational institutions and the private sector for dissemination and resource sharing;
Identify and document successful district-level interventions that use evidence-based strategies to share and scale on a national level.