Race to the top, stumble, fall
So who were the winners in the Department of Education’s Race to the Top? The Foundry at the Heritage Foundation says that nearly one-third of all state applicants made it to the next round, hardly an elite group. (Boy, does that make WIsconsin look even worse.) What’s interesting, as Andy Smarick of Fordham points out, is what’s missing in several of the states that were selected ahead of Wisconsin:
The US Department of Education had the opportunity today to send a clear signal–that the Race to the Top is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that very good wouldn’t be good enough, that only the biggest and boldest plans would merit consideration.
Instead, the administration accepted 15 states and Washington, DC–nearly 1/3 of all applicants–as finalists.
The list includes Kentucky, a state with no charter law and New York, which brashly rejected reform legislation–including a critical cap lift provision–in advance of the deadline. It includes Colorado, which backed off of important reforms related to teachers, and Ohio, whose proposal was weak in a number of areas.
Congress is killing the school choice program Washington D.C., so of course it made the list.
I suppose we should not be surprised that Illinois made the list.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn released a statement in response to the announcement.
“A fulfilling and top-notch education for all Illinois students is our No. 1 priority, and we are in a great position to take full advantage of this federal funding,” Quinn said in a prepared statement.
Maybe we should have wrapped our application in a $20 bill.