EDIT: The RFP has finally been issued—two months a day after this post was first published.
The Department of Education will issue an RFP for the Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) program around July 1. There will be about $400 million up for grabs. Local Education Agencies (“LEAs,” which is education-speak for school districts) with at least 2,500 students, of whom at least 40% are low-income, will be eligible to compete for grants up to $25 million or so.
This is the first time LEAs have been eligible to apply directly to the feds for RTTT funds. Even better, the Department of Education must obligate the funds by December 31, so this is going to be Fast and Furious grant making that favors the prepared applicant. Based on recent Department of Education RFP cycles, I assume there will be about 30 days from the RFP publication to the deadline. If they meet the July 1 publication target, the proposal preparation period will include the 4th of July, which falls on a Wednesday this year. Lots of civilians will aim for a five-day vacation, while us grant writers will be tossing another gerund on the barbie.*
RTTT-D is an extraordinary opportunity for LEAs. Given the uncertain political climate and budget constraints, it might be a long time until LEAs are again able to apply for substantial funds to essentially do anything they want, as long as the it conforms to the loosey-goosey reforms of RTTT. If I were a LEA administrator, I would already be developing my RTTT-D proposal. Gentlewomen and gentlemen, start your grant engines.
* “Tossing” is a gerund for those readers who like to diagram sentences (actually, it’s a gerund for all readers). Here is Dave Barry’s take on diagramming sentences:
Q. Please explain how to diagram a sentence.
A. First spread the sentence out on a clean, flat surface, such as an ironing board. Then, using a sharp pencil or X-Acto knife, locate the “predicate,” which indicates where the action has taken place and is usually located directly behind the gills. For example, in the sentence: “LaMont never would of bit a forest ranger,” the action probably took place in a forest. Thus your diagram would be shaped like a little tree with branches sticking out of it to indicate the locations of the various particles of speech, such as your gerunds, proverbs, adjutants, etc.