Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Education

Updated: Delaware and Tennessee Win Race to Top

By Michele McNeil — March 29, 2010 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Finally making good on promises to set a “very, very high bar” for Race to the Top, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has picked Delaware and Tennessee as Round 1 winners of the $4 billion education-reform competition, according to an official who was briefed on the winners this morning. (The Education Department has now confirmed this via Twitter.)

Since then, Duncan has made the announcement official, declaring: “We now have two states that will blaze the path for the future of education reform.” He singled out Tennessee and Delaware for their strong stakeholder support, and for building a statewide, comprehensive plan that will affect “every single child” in those states.

“This isn’t about funding nice pilot programs,” he said during a conference call with reporters. “This is about taking student achievement to an entirely different level, and doing it at scale.”

For more on why the two won, read this follow-up blog item here.

While both of these states were thought to have strong applications, what’s most interesting is the two front-runners who didn’t win: Florida and Louisiana. We don’t know yet how much money each state won, but Delaware asked for $107 million (their top-line budget was $75 million) and Tennessee asked for $502 million (or twice the $250 million the education department had budgeted). Each of those requests was above the state-by-state nonbinding estimates the department had set.

UPDATE: Delaware will get about $100 million, and Tennessee will get about $500 million.

What we do know is that since the biggest states, such as Florida, New York, and Illinois, did not win in this round, there will be plenty of money left over for Round 2.

Less than a month ago, the department named 15 states plus the District of Columbia as finalists, representing one-third of all Race to the Top applications. That prompted criticism far and wide that Mr. Duncan’s bar wasn’t really that high. In all, 41 states (including D.C.) applied in Round 1. A second round starts now, with applications due June 1.

Finalists came to D.C. in the middle of this month to make a final, in-person pitch to the panel of peer reviewers. Now, we know who really shone (or at least who didn’t tank) in that part of the application process.

The education department won’t confirm the winners until today’s official announcement at 1 p.m. And that means we’ll be bringing you more analysis today, and throughout the week.

But big questions remain: How much money will the winning states get, which is an important question given that all but one state asked for more money than the department was estimating? Who just barely missed winning in Round 1? What did the final scores look like, and whose scores changed because of their in-person presentations? And just who were the secret peer reviewers?

We hope to bring you those answers soon.

UPDATE: When I told Alyson who the winners were, she pointed out that Tennessee and Delaware just happen to be the home states of two powerful, Republican lawmakers the Obama administration is trying to court in its bipartisan push to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. Both are the ranking minority members in the subcommittees in their respective chambers dealing with K-12 policy, and both are considered leading moderate voices on education who have worked well with Democrats in the past. In fact, in an interview with the Washington Post’s David Broder, Secretary Duncan singled out Alexander and Castle as the two Republicans who had offered ideas that were incorporated into the administration’s ESEA blueprint.

Of course, the Obama administration has stressed repeatedly that politics would play absolutely no part in Race to the Top and set up a process intended to keep just these sort of considerations out. But the fact that Tennessee and Delaware apparently submitted such stellar applications might be a lucky break for the administration as its works to get GOP support for its ESEA ideas.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. f we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)