Updated! Race to the Top, Round 2 applications are in
June 1, 2010 6:38 p.m.
Note: Links for applications updated June 23. The competition for the second round of billions in education stimulus dollars from the federal government will feature 36 competitors, the U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday.
That's just shy of the 41 applicants for Race to the Top in Round One. States have been busily writing new education laws, and begging school districts and teachers unions to sign off on applications to improve their chances at a grant. But some gave up on the challenge, and others said they were concerned about the extent they were required to change their ways to have a competitive application.
While there have been questions about how Round One winners Tennessee and Delaware were chosen and whether reviewers followed rules about scoring as closely as they should, both states did have buy-in from most stakeholders. Round One runners up (who got no parting gift) Georgia and Florida have more support this time around than last. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that won't be a deciding factor, however.
The applicants are vying for a share of $3.4 billion, what's left of the $4.5 billion set aside for the program. (Delaware and Tennessee got $600 million in Round One, and another $350 million is being use for the so-called Race to the Common Test.)
While it's a mere sliver of the $100 billion in stimulus dollars built into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the point of RTTT is to change education in big ways.
"This took a lot of hard work and political courage. It required administrators, elected officials, union leaders, teachers, and advocates to work together and embrace a common reform agenda. Every state that applied now has a blueprint for raising educational quality across America," Duncan said in a press release about the second-round applicants.
Despite the aforementioned criticism, it doesn't appear the Department of Education has any plans to revamp their scoring process. As in the first round, five reviewers hired by the Department of Education will read and discuss each application, then score them independently, netting an average score for each app.
Finalists should be named by late July.
The top scorers will be invited to give in-person interviews in D.C. and reviewers will submit final scores. Between 10 and 15 winners are expected. This time around, winners will be given grants based on budget guidelines Delaware and Tennessee got more than they were allotted according to the guidelines. Winners will be named before the end of September.
• District of Columbia
• New Hampshire
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• New York
• North Carolina
• Rhode Island
• South Carolina
We've started gathering links to states' applications, so please share a link if you have one. Or drop us a line or post a comment about your take on the second round of these coveted education dollars.