Washington News
thenewstribune.com, August 24, 2010

Washington state finished 32nd out of 36 Race to the Top applicants

By Peter Callaghan

Here is the state-by-state summary or scores and rankings. It isn't a pretty picture of the quality of the state's application which received just 290.6 out of the possible 500 points. That placed it 32nd of the 36 applicants for Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition.

The state learned in late July that it wouldn't be a finalist in Phase 2 of the competition. But the actual scores and placement wasn't released until today. At least it ranked ahead of Alabama, Maine, Mississippi and Montana.

The phase two winners will split up the remaining $3.4 billion in the RTTT money that was part of the federal stimulus program. Winners had to show they were reforming their education systems to fix the worst schools, get quality teachers in each classroom, have high standards and measure students and schools against those standards and impose data systems to be able to measure what works and what doesn't.

In addition to phase one winners Tennessee and Delaware, the federal Education Department will awards grants to Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. The scores given the winners range from 471 for Massachusetts to 440.8 for North Carolina.

The awards range from $75 million for Rhode Island and D.C. to $700 million for New York.

Here is Education Week's first blush look at the winners and losers.

As consolation, the Fordham Institute published this critique arguing that some real reformers – especially Louisiana and Colorado – were not among the winners while some without much reform cred like Hawaii and Maryland were.

This is a disastrous outcome for the Administration. Support for competitive programs, even among reformers, is apt to plummet as it becomes clear that the vagaries of peer reviewers and the prowess of grant writers are what drive results in such competitions, not true policy change, political courage, leadership or public commitment to reform. The lofty rhetoric of the Race to the Top has turned to farce.

That said, Washington state has never been on anyone's list of states leading the nation in school reform.

Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2010/08/24/washington-state-finished-32nd-out-of-36-race-to-the-top-applicants/#ixzz0xcYk0STL

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