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Following Through On What We’ve Started

Now That Race to the Top is Over, What's Next for States?

Race to the Top directed billions of dollars to states in order to put in place college and career ready standards, educator evaluations, data systems and school turnaround strategies. Yet after five years, the work of implementing and sustaining these reforms is far from finished. So where do we go next?

These reforms can have a long-term impact on student achievement, but only if states, districts and policymakers continue to implement them with quality. Based on our experience working with education agencies throughout Race to the Top — including our work with the U.S. Department of Education’s Reform Support Network — we believe that follow through is the new innovation. States and districts need to commit to the work they have already done through providing teachers with high-quality textbooks and materials, designing intelligent assessment systems that don’t overburden teachers and students and refocusing educator evaluation systems on improving instruction.

In this paper we offer five big ideas and 10 action steps to help all states and districts follow through on implementing reforms. These big ideas are: 1) Keep standards focused on quality, rigor and comparability; 2) Improve teacher development by investing in school leaders; 3) Reorganize school systems to empower effective teachers and increase their impact, especially with low-income youth and youth of color; 4) Keep making systematic improvements to educator evaluation systems with educator engagement and input; and 5) Maintain accountability and focus on equity, while building broader coalitions to prevent backsliding and improve reforms over time.

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Meet the experts who authored this post

Jenn Vranek professional headshot
Jenn Vranek
Founding Partner
Sophie Lippincott Ferrer
Sophie Lippincott Ferrer
Chad Rubalcaba
Chad Rubalcaba
Principal and Senior Director of Consulting Practice
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