DOE names 16 'Race' finalists

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia are finalists in the first round of  “Race to the Top” funding: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. The winners will be chosen in April, and a second round of applications accepted in June.

Some weak applications made the cut, notes Eduwonk.

Some states with good apps here but OH and NY is not a great sign…and IL and CO were arguably bubble states at best and not sure what SC means given how out of step they are with parts of the administration’s agenda.

If too many states get grants, it’s going to look like the kindergarten race at Ravinia School in the 1958: Prizes for all, including those who run diagonally. (And, yes, I ran diagonally and slowly but got the same green “participation” ribbon as my classmates.)

Update: Edspresso wonders why so many charter-restricting states made the finals.

California lifted its ban on the use of test data to evaluate teachers but the Golden State didn’t make it. DC and Florida, along with Colorado and Louisiana, might just be the only reformist states that made the final list. And now that it’s clear that a strong charter law or performance pay system doesn’t seem to matter for the competition, state policymakers can breath a sigh of relief that they don’t have to do any heavy lifting to get or stay in the game, just hire a smart team of consultants to create convincing charts and use flowery language. Read a little of Illinois’ application. It seems to be written entirely in the future tense.

Race To The Top is a “doomed bribery scheme,” says Daniel Willingham.

Flypaper’s Andy Smarick calls the list of 16 a major disappointment. He was hoping for five finalists or even three.

The list of 16 is padded, writes Tom Carroll of Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability. Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee are highly competitive, Colorado, Georgia and Delaware are competitive and the rest should be out of the running, he predicts.

About Joanne


  1. Kentucky doesn’t even have a charter school law. Thought that was one of the more important scoring requirements.

  2. Joanne, did you run diagonally?

  3. Apparently the Obama administration is still angry with CT for Lieberman’s “betrayal.” One would think that the state with the highest achievement gap in the country might be a great place to showcase your ideas for education reform.

  4. Paul Hoss says:

    New York? I realize they have 31 electoral college votes (3rd highest in the country) but this is preposterous. Isn’t this the state where the state legislature put the kibosh on lifting the cap on charters and the teachers’ union declined to take part in merit pay? So how did they make the cut to the sweet sixteen?

  5. Student of History says:


    Are you concerned that Massachusetts was picked primarily so they would have to gut your high quality standards?