I had hoped that after the Department held a high bar for phase 1 Race to the Top awards, that we’d see a rush of bold improvements to state plans. It doesn’t appear to be working out that way.

A number of governors and chiefs appear disheartened or bitter; some are considering not reapplying. And the ‘just say no’ crowd is newly emboldened.

The high bar set by phase 1 awards suggests that most states need to convert some/all promises into policies before making phase 2 application. Florida Governor Crist’s veto of SB6 after a massive ‘no’ campaign suggests that this conversion process won’t be easy when it comes to lifting charter caps or improving teacher evaluations.

Where is the next Jeb Bush? Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has the chance to be the leading voice among Republican governors (in fact, all governors) simply by supporting his chief, Paul Pastorek. The poll position is open.

After giving the nod to an inclusive process, Duncan will need to take sides and come out strong if he wants to see real follow through.


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