ERIC Number: EJ880057
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar-10
Reference Count: N/A
Race to Top Enters Home Stretch
McNeil, Michele; Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v29 n24 p1, 26-27 Mar 2010
When 16 finalists come to Washington next week to make their final pitches in the $4 billion Race to the Top competition, most can expect to go home empty-handed. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in announcing the finalists last week, said that no more than $2 billion will be divided among "very few winners" when the awards are given out in April--and said "most" would not be victorious. The finalists from among 41 first-round applicants are: (1) Colorado; (2) Delaware; (3) the District of Columbia; (4) Florida; (5) Georgia; (6) Illinois; (7) Kentucky; (8) Louisiana; (9) Massachusetts; (10) New York; (11) North Carolina; (12) Ohio; (13) Pennsylvania; (14) Rhode Island; (15) South Carolina; and (16) Tennessee. The $4 billion available for individual state grants under the Race to the Top Fund--a sliver of the $787 billion economic-stimulus package passed by Congress early last year--is paying for a high-profile school reform initiative that's helping drive the Obama administration's education agenda. The awards will come as many states continue to claw their way out of a deep fiscal pit and face the prospect of stinging cuts to programs, including K-12 education. The highly coveted awards will also be given out during the pivotal 2010 election season, when 37 states will elect governors. Eleven of the finalist states will see gubernatorial races this year, and the District of Columbia has a mayor's race. The dash for cash--and bragging rights--prompted states to embark on aggressive lobbying campaigns to change laws to be more competitive under the 500-point scoring scale used to weigh the applications. Some lifted caps on charter schools, tore down data "firewalls" standing in the way of new systems of teacher evaluation, and devised strategies to intervene in more low-performing schools. One example: Illinois is among a handful of states to require all districts, not just those participating in the Race to the Top, to use student achievement as at least 50 percent of an individual teacher's evaluation.
Descriptors: Charter Schools, School Restructuring, Awards, Elementary Secondary Education, Politics of Education, Grants, Accountability, School Effectiveness, School Districts, Competition
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Kentucky; Louisiana; Massachusetts; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Washington