Race to the Top handicap

1. I still like Florida’s chances for RttT; mostly residual Bush reforms

2. I still like Louisiana’s chances for RttT given Pastorek’s leadership and RSD as improvement frame.

3. Colorado remains a sentimental favorite for RttT given Barb O’Brien’s leadership but improving data will be key to having a shot at Round 2

4. I still like Delaware’s chances for RttT. Great combo of grant incentive and Rodel’s local leadership including Vision 2015

5. Bubble favorites (will need to work on data to get phase 2): GA, NC.   Sleepers include IN, UT, OH, OK, MN, VA, MO

6. Dropped off my list: Rhode Island. Love the Mayoral Academies, but with language out it looks like a long shot on data and school improvement (unless they use Mayoral Academies to replace failing schools)

7. NY and CA are complaining loudly but neither has a chance on multiple criteria.

NY and CA are  not the only ones complaining, but most critics seem to forget that this is the forward leaning 5% reform component of the stimulus bill–95% will be used to backfill the status quo.  As Andy Smarick pointed out, “The department will need to be very tough when evaluating applications and even tougher when monitoring grantees.”

If you haven’t seen it, New Teacher Project produced the best Race to the Top analysis to date.

States that received private grants for RttT applicationa development include: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

What to watch: half of the RrrT funds get distributed by by Title 1 formula; high poverty districts in RttT phase 1 winners like FL & LA will soon have more money than they know what to do with.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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good analysis. what's your take on how many states will apply, and how many will get funded in the first round?
also -- no need to be coy -- "private grants for RttT application development" means funding from the Gates Foundation, your previous employer.
disclosure = credibility


Tom Vander Ark

Don't think they'll get more than 6 phase 1 apps that meet application/selection criteria with 6 strong phase 2 apps (more than that will likely require relaxing criteria).
I read list of grant recipients in EdWeek like you.


Tom, don't discount RI too soon. Doing so would be a big mistake. We are primed for significant improvements. Watch us!
(I'd love to connect soon and give you an update..)


Tom Vander Ark

with you there, I'll put RI back in the bubble states for phase 2. Most states will have a big challenge meeting data criteria (not to mention linking student performance to eval)

Gary G. Naeyaert

Tom -
What's your honest assessment of Michigan's chances? We're having some trouble convincing the State Supt that we have a charter cap that needs addressing.


Tom Vander Ark

TNTP ranks MI as moderately competitive, but like most states MI will struggle to hit all 10 elements of data quality. I think lifting the charter cap is going to remain a hard & fast requirement for eligibility.

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