USDOE Race to the Top Grant Winners Indicate Major Shift in Federal Policy

To read a colorful online version of the NewsBlast with a larger typeface, visit:

Delaware and Tennessee cross the finish line According to The Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration has "delivered a jolt to U.S. public education" by selecting only two out of 40 applicant states, Delaware and Tennessee, to receive $600 million in Race to the Top funds ($100 million and $500 million, respectively). In selecting the winners, the Department of Education used a complicated scoring system that weighted various factors, from states' willingness to track student and teacher performance and adopt uniform standards to an openness regarding turning around or closing their worst schools. Delaware garnered 454 out of a possible 500 points, while Tennessee accrued 444. The District of Columbia, which came in last among the 16 finalists, received 402 points. Other finalists had been Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Education experts and administration officials say two factors set apart the winning states' plans: their coherence, and their likelihood of implementation. All local unions in Delaware backed their state's bid, while 93 percent lent support in Tennessee. The administration still has $3.4 billion to award in a second round, with that announcement expected in late September .

What does this mean? Certainly no more business as usual with federal grant applications. Amopng the many lessons is the federal government requires nearly universal involvement by stakeholders throughout the state and at all levels. Watch the national press and the educational press such as the Chronicle of Higher Education for analysis. This was a massive wakeup call.