High schools and local education agencies can join the competition by submitting a proposal for technology education programs that use flexible delivery methods, such as distance and blended learning, and competency-based education, which enables students to master a skill or competency at their own pace. Submissions are open through Oct. 8.
After the submission period, judges will review the proposals and recommend up to five finalists, who will split the initial $500,000 cash prize pool equally. In 2021, the finalists will progress to the second phase of the competition, during which they will plan, run and refine their programs with virtual resources and onsite assistance for two academic years. Afterward, judges will review their outcomes and select a grand-prize winner to receive an additional $100,000.
“Our rural tech challenge is a tremendous opportunity for educators in rural communities to rethink how students access education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the press release. “As I’ve said many times, a student’s education shouldn’t be arbitrarily limited by what’s available inside their brick-and-mortar classroom, and that’s never been more apparent than now as the coronavirus pandemic has made clear the need for more innovation to ensure all students have access to robust educational options.”