The mad scramble is on.  Consultants and bureaucrats nationwide are putting the finishing touches on Race to the Top proposals this weekend.  I’m sure a little last minute arm twisting is going on between state chiefs and district superintendents to get enough districts to opt-in to make state plans viable and get most of the 65 vision points.

To my November list of strong phase 1 candidates–FL, LA, TN, NC, and CO–I’ll add GA to my list.  Joe Williams notes late progress in NY, CA, and MA. He also notes that TN will need to pass legislation next week to have a shot.  Bad news for bubble states (like MI, MO, PA, OH) that both CA and NY in the hunt at least for phase 2.

Who knows how the mystery readers will score this; it’s likely to come down to judgements about the 138 points on teacher effectiveness plans.

The attention to data, teacher effectiveness, intervening in low performing schools, and expansion of quality options has already made RttT an overwhelming success.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. I’m confident Rhode Island will be in the running for Round 1 or 2 contention for sure. It’s a small investment compared to NY/CA and will yield statewide transformative results.


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