Understanding the State "Policy Pipeline"

The federal Race to the Top (RttT) initiative contains no legislation or policy mandates for states to follow, but the program is nevertheless likely to drive all major state education reform efforst for the next decade.  However, it it uncertain whether the diverse education reform proposals from the states will be enacted in ways that actually translate to real change in the teaching and learning that occurs within classrooms.  The study examines three questions: (1) What are the theories of action implicit in successful RttT applications?; (2) To what extent is the improvement of teaching and learning central to the theories of action laid out in states' approaches to RttT reforms?; and (3) What aspects of states' RttT reform initiatives are likely to be implemented in ways that positively influence teaching and learning?