Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 - 6:42
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 15:34
Nine states and the District of Columbia triumphed. Some quick observations:
Ten winners were announced yesterday in the second round of the Race to the Top competition: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.
We took a good look at the list and perused some of the commentary. Following are some of the facts that jumped out at us:
- Geographically, the money has gone heavily to the eastern part of the country. With a dozen winners over the two rounds, only one was a state that is west of the Mississippi River. (Hawaii).
- Florida and New York together have the potential of getting 41% of the second round money --$700 million each out of $3.4 billion.
- Of the winners, Hawaii's score jumped up most from the first round -- nearly 100 points. It finished third in the scoring, just behind first place Massachusetts and second place New York.
- The finalists that lost in the second round are: California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina.
- In all, 46 states submitted applications for Race to the Top; there were 35 contenders in the second round. Of the finalists, only Maryland sat out the first round of the competition.
- The Obama administration is hoping to have another round of Race to the Top in 2011 and is asking for $1.35 billion for Phase 3 in next year’s budget.
- By rewarding states that embraced reforms, this grant competition had a significant role in pushing states to change education laws. For example, the National Alliance for Public School Charters noted yesterday that since the Race was announced in June 2009, 15 states have lifted caps on charter schools and one enacted a charter school law. (For more on how this program may change the shape of the way the federal government drives policy, see the blog post we wrote when the first round of finalists was announced.)
Race to the Top has generated a great deal of heat in the education community, with significant opposition from teachers' unions. But a poll that is being released today by Education Next and Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, shows more people in the general population favor the initiative than oppose it.
According to the poll, 32 percent of those surveyed were in favor and 22 percent were opposed. The majority -- 46 percent -- say they have no opinion. A blog post by Paul E. Peterson reports that support for Race to the Top was highest among African Americans and Hispanics, with 48 percent in support, 12 percent in opposition and the rest with no opinion. In a separate poll, about twice as many teachers were against Race to the Top as were for it, with 22 percent supporting and 46 percent seeing it as an “unwarranted intrusion.”
More details on the poll, which covers attitudes toward public schools and education generally, are available at the Education Next website.