- The U.S. Department of Education awarded $120 million in Race to the Top grants to five school district groups Monday to implement plans for improvement.
- The award breakdown is as follows: Houston Independent School District, $30 million; Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, $30 million; Arkansas' Springdale School District, $25.9 million; four rural South Carolina districts led by Clarendon County School District 2, $25 million; and Mississippi's Clarksdale Municipal School District, $10 million.
- The groups' improvement plans align with Obama administration efforts such as having students earn associate's degrees with their high school diplomas, putting laptops in the hands of every student, retraining teachers for self-paced learning and linking student test scores to teacher evaluations.
The grants will also help address other challenges in these five groups, including high absenteeism, low graduation rates, outdated or under-equipped technologies, and additional teacher training. The department similarly awarded funds directly to local school districts last year, and the awards are set to be disbursed over four years.