The U.S. Department of Education announced the ten winners of Race to the Top Round II on August 24.  Joining Tennessee and Delaware in the winners’ circle were the District of Columbia (450), Florida (453), Georgia (447), Hawaii (463), Maryland (450, Massachusetts (471), New York (465), North Carolina (442), Ohio (441), and Rhode Island (452).  Along with the winners, the Department of Education also posted all of the scores from Round II entrants.  Out of 36 applicants in Round II, Mississippi placed 34th and had a final score of 263 out of a total of 500 possible points.  We placed higher than Montana (238) and Alabama (212).  See below for how Mississippi’s scored in each area.

Race to the Top Selection Criteria Available Points Mississippi Score % of Available Points
A. State Success Factors 125 80.4 64.3%
1. Articulating State’s education reform agenda and LEA’s participating in it 65 48 73.8%
2. Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans. 30 19.6 65.3%
3. Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps 30 12.8 42.6%
B. Standards and Assessments 70 56.6 80.8%
1. Developing and adopting common standards 40 40 100%
2. Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments 10 10 100%
3. Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments 20 6.6 33%
C. Data Systems to Support Instruction 47 26.4 56.1%
1. Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system 24 14 58.3%
2. Accessing and using State data 5 2.2 44%
3. Using data to improve instruction 18 10.2 56.6%
D. Great Teachers and Leaders 138 55.4 40.1%
1. Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals 21 10.2 48.6%
2. Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance 58 29.4 50.7%
3. Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals 25 4.4 17.6%
4. Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs 14 5 35.7%
5. Providing effective support to teachers and principals 20 6.4 32%
E. Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools 50 20.2 40.4%
1. Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs 10 10 100%
2. Turning around the the lowest-achieving schools 40 10.2 25.5%
F. General 55 24.4 44.4%
1. Making education funding a priority 10 7.8 78%
2. Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charter schools and other innovative schools 40 14.6 36.5%
3. Demonstrating other significant reform conditions 5 2 40%
TOTAL 500 263.4 52.6%

Note: Our Race to the Top (R2TT) scores include two additional items.  The first was a bonus item, in which states would receive 15 extra points for creating an education reform plan that emphasized science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). To earn the bonus, a majority of the committee had to agree that STEM was emphasized in our reform plan.  The second item was an absolute priority and required states to demonstrate a comprehensive approach to education reform.  A majority of committee members had to determine a state’s reform plan was comprehensive for the state to be eligible for R2TT funds.  As you can see below, even had Mississippi scored a lot higher, we would have been ineligible for funds because only one reviewer thought we met the absolute priority.

Priority Yes No
Competitive Preference Priority – Emphasis on STEM
A state could earn 15 additional points if a majority of RTTT reviewers determined (voted “YES”) that the application demonstrated an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math.
0 5
Absolute Priority – Comprehensive Approach to Education Reform
This priority was eligibility requirement for Race to the Top funds.  In other words, Mississippi would only be eligible for funds if a majority of reviewers determined that the application demonstrated a comprehensive approach to education reform.
1 4

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