The RPM Run-Down of Formula and Competitive Grants Proposed in Blueprint

Last Updated: March 26, 2010

This article appeared in the March 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

Blueprint suggests a number of programs that will be available to schools through grants. RPM has categorized those programs based on whether Blueprint identifies the program as available on a formula or competitive basis.

Formula Grants

Some federal grants that are currently allocated by formula will remain formula grants, but some would have new requirements.






Improve assessments
State efforts to improve quality of assessment systems (Language Arts and Math) and to develop and implement upgraded standards and assessments required by College- and Career-Ready Students program.
Beginning in 2015 only states implementing assessments based on college/career reading will be eligible for formula funds.


School turnaround
To build capacity to improvement low-performing schools, effective school quality review teams, remainder awarded as subgrants by states to implement intervention models at local level


States and districts
Improve effectiveness of teachers and leaders
Recipients may choose how to spend funds to meet local needs as long as they are improving teacher and principal effectiveness and ensuring the equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.
States and school districts
ELL programs
Implement high-quality language instruction programs. Grantees may provide dual-language, transitional bilingual, sheltered English immersion, newcomer programs for late-entrants, or other language instruction programs.
States required to establish new criteria to ensure consistent statewide identification of students as ELL and to determine eligibility, placement, duration of programs and services; AND implement a system to evaluate the effectiveness of language instruction education programs and provide info on achievement of subgroups of ELLs. Districts not improving performance of ELLs will lose flexibility.
Districts (SRSA) and States (RLIS)
Grants to address needs in rural districts
Impact aid
To compensate for funding of federally-connected children and for tax-exempt federal property.




Competitive Grants

The proposed grant programs listed below are either available currently on a competitive basis or they are new categories of grants that would be available on a competitive, rather than a formula, basis.






Consortia of states and other entities
Work on high quality assessments to be used by multiple states in such areas as science, history, foreign language, technical subjects, ELL assessments.
States and districts
Teacher Effectiveness
Implement ambitious reforms to better identify, recruit, prepare, develop, retain, reward, and advance effective teachers, principals and school leadership teams in high-need schools.
Grantees must be able to differentiate among teachers and principals based on students’ growth and other measures and must use info to differentiate credentialing, professional development, retention and advancement decisions, and to reward highly effective teachers and principals in high-need schools. Must put in place policies to help ensure that principals are able to select and build a strong team of teachers with a shared vision and that teachers are choosing to be part of a school team. May use funds to differentiate pay based on student achievement, additional roles and responsibilities, teaching in high-need school or subject areas. And for “improving teacher salary schedules so as to eliminate incentives for teachers to obtain credentials that have been shown not to be linked with student performance.”
Non profits, colleges, school districts, prep programs
Teacher preparation
Improve and strengthen traditional and alternative pathways into teaching. Includes grants for recruitment, preparation, placement, and induction of promising teacher candidates for high-need schools, subjects, areas, and fields.
Must prepare teachers to teach to college and career ready standards, extent to which programs are designed to meet the needs of high-need areas, including rural areas, or high-need fields, such as teaching English Learning, students with disabilities or other students with diverse learning needs: and the extent to which programs provide streamlined opportunities for applicants who can demonstrate competency in specific knowledge or skills.
No grantee designated
Traditional and alternative paths into school leadership
Recruitment, preparation, and support of effective principals and leadership teams to turn around persistently low-performing schools.
Must have a record of preparing effective leaders or commit to tracking and measuring the effectiveness of graduates.
No grantee designated
ELL programs
Support develop of innovative ELL programs, etc.
Transition to higher standards: Literacy
Support transition to higher standards by supporting states in strengthening their literacy programs and by providing substantial support to high-need districts in implementing high-quality literacy instruction.


States required to develop comprehensive, evidence-based, preK–12 literacy plans and to align federal, state, and local funds to provide high-quality literacy instruction.


Priority given to common-standards states. States provide competitive sub-grants to high need districts for literacy programs.

Transition to higher standards: STEM
Support transition to higher standards by supporting states in strengthening their STEM programs and by providing substantial support to high-need districts in implementing high-quality instruction in at least mathematics or science and may also include technology or engineering.


States required to develop comprehensive, evidence-based plans and to align federal, state, and local funds to provide high-quality STEM instruction.


Priority given to common-standards states. States provide competitive sub-grants to high need districts.

States, high need districts and non- profits
Well-rounded education
Help students in high-need schools receive a well-rounded education to strengthen the teaching and learning of arts, foreign languages, history and civics, financial literacy, environmental education, and other subjects.
Priority to applicants integrating across subjects, using tech to address student learning challenges; and at high school to work with colleges/
universities to make sure coursework is aligned with expectations.
States, districts, non-profits
Accelerated learning
High school access to college level work; elementary and middle school gifted and talented programs.
Priority to applicants serving high schools with low graduation rates and for programs whose credit is portable.
No grantee designated
Promise neighborhoods
Development and implementation of continuum of effective community services, family supports and comprehensive education reforms from birth through college and into careers.
Must be designed to improve academic and developmental outcomes for children and youths through effective public schools, community-based organizations, and other local agencies.
States, districts, community-based organizations
21st century learning centers
To implement in-school and out- of-school strategies that provide students, and, where appropriate, teachers and family members, with additional time and supports to succeed: full-service community schools, before/after school and summer programs; focus on core academics and enrichment.
Priority to applicants to carry out programs that support Challenge schools and those that propose to implement comprehensive and coordinated programs.
States, school districts, and partners
Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students
Provide environments that ensure students are successful, safe, healthy (does not address facilities needs).
Must do surveys/school climate assessments and report; states can provide subgrants to districts. Priority to applicants with partnerships between districts and nonprofits
States and school districts
Ambitious and comprehensive reform
RTT model
States must award at least 50% of grants to districts participating in state plan
Schools and nonprofits (if criteria remains the same as i3)
Expand implementation, investment in evidence-based practices that improve student outcomes
Investing in Innovation model
States, charter school authorizers, charter management organizations, districts, nonprofits
Start or Expand charters and autonomous public schools
Autonomous schools defined as having ongoing autonomy over key operational elements, including staffing, budget, schedule, and program.


Priority is for charter schools
Districts, consortia of districts, states in partnership with districts
Promoting public school choice
Expand high-quality public school educational options for students, especially students in low-performing schools.
Priority to inter-district choice programs, those that provide comprehensive choices to all students in a district, and those that increase diversity in schools served.
Magnet schools
Support magnet schools operating under desegregation plans ordered by court, approved by state agency or US Secretary.

Read more from the March 2010 Rural Policy Matters.