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Race to the Top Round 1 Finalists Named
posted by: Colin | March 04, 2010, 06:08 PM   

Today the Department of Education announced the states that will advance as finalists for phase 1 of the Race to the Top competition. Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion effort to reward reforms, such as friendly charter school laws and tying pay to student performance, with cash, and in these tough economic times 41 states applied for the federal dollars.

Phase 1 finalists: Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee

As teachers, administrators, legislators, and parents sift through the reports and prepare for the next round when they can re-apply, I suspect we'll start seeing some blame for why states were refused money.

Have a theory about why your state was or wasn't picked? Comment below.

Noticeably missing from the list:

  • West Virginia, where State Sen. Wells felt it necessary to kill his bill allowing charter schools, which are supported by President Obama. Wells came under attack by the unions for sending his daughter to private school, and the AFT has endorsed his opponent in an upcoming primary.
  • California, where fewer than half the unions and school districts agreed to abide by the reform proposals.
  • Michigan, where, despite making some reforms on failing schools, unions limited the governor's tenure reforms. The teachers unions did not endorse the reforms and urged local unions not to participate.
  • Indiana and Minnesota, which were expected to make the cut. The union in Minnesota voiced concerns about reforms included in the state proposal, which some believe could have hurt the state's chances. Teacher support is an important factor.

In fact, one of the unexpected results of the program is the "March Madness" attitude. See State EdWatch's bracket. It seems like the college basketball tournament can't come quickly enough for policy wonks.

  • Read more about the Race to the Top program here.
  • Review the criteria for awarding the 500 points here.
  • Read your state's application (and results, soon) here.

How did your state fare?

Comments (6)Add Comment
written by Donna Lee, via Facebook, April 14, 2010

Jim calls it Race to the Trough
written by Bob, via Facebook, April 14, 2010

Race To The Top ... or as it's known in California educational circles, "Saunter to Retirement.
written by Dixon, via Facebook, April 14, 2010

I just think that it is another way for the Federal government to have more control of us all. It is my belief that states need to retain and regain most of the control of education.
re: ... (Barbara Bryant Arkansas)
written by Colin, AAE, March 15, 2010

Hello Barbara, thank you for your comment and question. The Race to the Top program is a large federal program to fund innovative education reform at the state level. AAE supports a national discussion about ways to improve schools and teaching. AAE also supports innovation in education and collaboration amongst teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the community. That said, each proposal submitted by the competing states differs and is created at the state and local level. Each proposal includes different reforms tailored to the individual states to address local challenges and capitalize on local strengths--some of which will be funded, while many others will fall short. AAE has not, at this time, surveyed members about the specific, yet still nebulous, proposals in each of the individual states, but I encourage you to continue to share your thoughts by commenting on the blog. Thanks for reading.
Teacher and Writer
written by San Antonio, TX, March 07, 2010

More money will not improve public schools. They have more than enough money and manpower. The problem is the instution itself. There is not enough accountability at any level and there is too much abuse and corruption. Public school funds are funnelled for everything but students and teachers. There is tremendous amounts of waste and theft at all levels of public education and too little oversight or ability to address or alter the problem. Public education is big business with big dollars; hence like all government and big business...inefficiency at its finest!!
Glad Missouri wasn't part of it
written by Andrew Kansas City, MO, March 04, 2010

I am hard at work here on the ground in Missouri fighting this stupid proposal. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is the greatest insult to education in this country. Arne Duncan has never taught a day in his life, never was a principal a day in his life, and has not one degree in education. Why should he be given the ability to "fundamentally transform" education at the state level. No one understands Race to the Top and no one knows exactly what it means for local districts. We need all teachers to oppose Race to the Top funding in their states and districts. It's time to end the Federal Department of Education and allow the states to be the leaders of innovation in education.

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