Heading into Race’s Phase One Homestretch

According to the good folks over at Politics K-12, the U.S. Department of Education intends to announce its Race to the Top Phase One winners on Monday afternoon.  If you will recall, 16 states — Colorado, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee — made the cut as finalists.  All were asked to show their wares before the RttT reviewer panel in DC last week.  

No one has indicated how many states will win in Phase One, but EdSec Arne Duncan and many others have indicated that very few will be winning this time around.  Personally, Eduflack has long expected to see three win in Phase One, meaning 13 of the remaining candidates go away disappointed, hoping they have enough time to amend their applications before the Phase Two deadline in June.
So who will win?  That becomes the four-billion-dollar question.  After reviewing the state RttT applications and consuming much of the analysis of the same, dear ole Eduflack does have a few thoughts:
* Most in Need — If we are awarding based on need, New York and Ohio would walk away the big winners, demonstrating the most tangible need for these funds just to keep their public schools afloat
* The Darlings of Reformers — If the ed reform community had its way, we’d likely see grants headed to DC, Louisiana, and Rhode Island, with Colorado and Tennessee fighting for a possible fourth slot
* The Unions’ Choice — If NEA and AFT had their way, we’d see wins for Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
* Gates’ Choice — If the Gates Foundation has its say, it should be happy with most winning, although it is important to note that Gates did NOT provide support to either Delaware or South Carolina.  
* Based on a Strict Read — Based solely on the content of one’s RttT application, Eduflack would chalk up wins for Florida, Illinois, and Rhode Island.  But we all know that there is more to this than what was written on those hundreds of pages of paper each state submitted.  And while I loved their app, I don’t think Illinois can win round one for political reasons.
So where does that leave us?  Come Monday, Eduflack expects to see Florida and Louisiana in the winners’ circle. And that may be it.  I like Tennessee, but don’t think three states from the southern region can practically win.  So if I am looking to make that duo a trio, I’d add Rhode Island (based on massive actions to date and the probability of significant movement in a small state) or Massachusetts (because we need to acknowledge the hard work some states do with regard to standards, assessments, and data systems).
Florida, Louisiana, and either Rhode Island or Massachusetts.  That’s where Eduflack is for RttT Phase One prognostication.

165 thoughts on “Heading into Race’s Phase One Homestretch

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