Seeking to spur a bold rethinking of the American classroom, the Obama administration on Tuesday will propose divvying up $400 million among local school districts that devise new ways of reaching children, especially students from poor and rural families.
The competition will reward districts that move away from the centuries-old model of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom, delivering the same lesson to all students, according to draft regulations released Tuesday.
To win a share of the money, districts must come up with a way to personalize education, so that each child can advance at his own pace and explore his own interests, the rules state. Districts must also ensure that students move on only when they have truly mastered a skill -- not when they have completed a packet of worksheets or listened to a semester of lectures.
"We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.