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Maryland Officials Squabble Over Race to the Top

By Alyson Klein — December 23, 2009 1 min read
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Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat from Maryland, and the state’s long-time schools chief, Nancy Grasmick, have never been close confidantes.

The latest flare-up? O’Malley wants the state to go after a slice of the $4 billion Race to the Top fund, which rewards states for making progress on a set of education redesign-oriented assurances, and Grasmick is not quite so keen.

Her reason? Maryland was one of the states that got turned down for one of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grants-to-get-a-grant, in part because of its teacher-tenure law. Grasmick thinks that means the state probably doesn’t stand a strong chance in the first round of the competition, which has a Jan. 19 application deadline, and should wait for Round 2, which closes next spring.

But O’Malley wants the Old Line State in the mix for Round 1 and said as much to reporters and editors at The (Baltimore) Sun. The paper then came out with this editorial, basically saying that the state should enact reforms to become more competitive, then go for Round 2.

So do you think this public squabble is likely to hinder Maryland’s chances, whenever it decides to apply?