Race to the Top: What Grantmakers Can Learn From the First Round

by Steven Lawrence

Jun 2, 2010

Based on interviews with stakeholders in the Department of Education's first-round Race to the Top competition, examines the challenges states faced, grantmaker support for applications, concerns, and insights into grantmaker-government partnerships.
  • Observation: Many of those interviewed mentioned the exceptional level of cooperation needed across all tiers of state government and educational leadership, as well as with teachers unions and other stakeholders to compile a winning Race to the Top application.
  • Observation: Some interviewees remarked that the process would not have been possible without foundation funding -- particularly to pay for consultants to support under-resourced state departments of education.
  • Observation Grantmakers who hope to have input on government priorities will benefit from showing that they have the potential to be engaged and consistent long-term partners with government.
  • Challenge: A larger challenge cited by interviewees was the lack of a comprehensive vision for education reform in their state.
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