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ERIC Number: EJ890702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-16
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Race to Top Buy-In Level Examined
McNeil, Michele
Education Week, v29 n35 p1, 32-33 Jun 2010
States significantly increased buy-in from local teachers' unions in round two of the Race to the Top competition, but made far less progress in enlisting districts or expanding the number of students affected by the states' education reform plans. Those patterns emerged from an "Education Week" analysis of applications from 29 states and the District of Columbia, all of which entered both rounds of the $4 billion federal grant contest. Although the changes made in applications from the first to the second round varied widely from state to state, union buy-in increased on average by 22 percentage points, with states such as Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin making big leaps. At the same time, the overall level of district support and students affected in the 30 applications barely budged, mostly owing to California's loss of support from about 500 districts representing nearly 2 million students. That negated progress other states made in improving buy-in. Even with greater union backing, states didn't appear to garner the additional support by substantially weakening their applications. That possibility had been a fear of many education policy advocates after first-round winners Delaware and Tennessee were singled out for praise by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at least in part, for their 100 percent district and nearly universal union buy-in. Such unanimity meant the improvements proposed by the states in seeking the grants would at least theoretically reach all students. Buy-in is important to a state's Race to the Top chances because more support from superintendents and unions for its plan, as shown by the number of those who sign on to an agreement with the state, earns that state more points on the 500-point grading scale. The competition, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress last year, has become the chief mechanism by which Mr. Duncan is driving changes to state and federal education policy. In this latest round of applications, those competing for a second time got, on average, 61 percent of their districts on board, and within those districts, 68 percent of local unions signed on. In the first round, those states on average had buy-in from 62 percent of districts and 46 percent of unions. Second-round applications were due on June 1, and awards are expected to be made in late August or early September. A total of $3.4 billion remains for round two.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Michigan; Tennessee; Wisconsin