Race to the Top is a competitive grant program intended to encourage and reward States that are implementing significant reforms in the four education areas described in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA): enhancing standards and assessments, improving the collection and use of data, increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution, and turning around struggling schools. The Department awarded approximately $4 billion to 12 States under Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition, in accordance with sections 14005 and 14006 of the ARRA, as amended by section 310 of Division D, Title III of Public Law 111-117, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010.
On April 15, 2011, President Obama signed into law Public Law 112-10 (the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Appropriations Act)). Section 1832(a)(2) of the FY 2011 Appropriations Act made $698.6 million available for the Race to the Top Fund, authorized the Secretary to make awards on “the basis of previously submitted applications,” and amended the ARRA to permit the Secretary to make grants for improving early childhood care and learning under the program. On May 25, 2011, the Department announced that of these funds, approximately $200 million would be made available for Race to the Top Phase 3 to support some or all of the nine unfunded finalists from the 2010 Race to the Top Phase 2 competition.
The Department published the notice of final requirements for Race to the Top Phase 3 (NFR) in the Federal Register on November 16, 2011. On December 22, 2011, New Jersey received $37,847,648 from Race to the Top Phase 3 (RTTT3) available funds.