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 Funding

How Race to Top States Fared on NAEP: The Hawaii Surprise

By Michele McNeil — November 02, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Even though it’s too early to start judging how well Race to the Top states are using their $4 billion in winnings to improve student achievement, it’s not too early to start looking at key indicators. And NAEP is one of them.

So just how did Race to the Top states fare on the 2011 NAEP versus non-winners?

There weren’t many bright spots in the NAEP results released Tuesday, as reading scores remained relatively flat and math scores inched up. But amid the bright spots were, indeed, some Race to the Top states.

Hawaii (yes, Hawaii!) and Maryland were the exceptions in reading. Students in both of those Race to the Top states (and only those states) scored higher in both 4th grade and 8th grade reading than in 2009. (Winner Massachusetts, and other non-winning states, scored higher in 4th grade only. Another winner, North Carolina, was among a few scoring higher in 8th grade.)

That’s pretty significant, especially for Hawaii, which hasn’t been a darling of the education reformers. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and crew even debated how to avoid giving the state a Race to the Top award. Lately, the state’s taken a beating over its teacher-evaluation system (or lack of one) with some critics saying Hawaii should have to give the money back. But, as Mike Petrilli at Flypaper noted, maybe there’s something to Hawaii winning after all.

In math, winners D.C., Rhode Island, and Hawaii (yes, Hawaii again!) made gains in both grades since 2009. Non-winner New Mexico was the only other state to post gains in both grades. Winner Georgia (and several other non-winning states) made gains in 4th grade only, and Ohio and a few others made gains in 8th grade.

Rhode Island’s jump in both grades is noteworthy because the state’s low math achievement in particular has bothered Education Commissioner Deb Gist, who set very high goals for that subject in general as part of the state’s Race to the Top application.

But even more spectacular is D.C.'s giant leaps in math. In four years, D.C.'s scores have jumped 12 points in eighth grade, and 8 points in fourth grade—making D.C. the biggest score mover on NAEP. (That’s a lot of points when scores in most states barely budge from year to year.)

What about the other Race to the Top states? Like most of the nation, their scores didn’t budge much. New York was the only Race to the Top state to see its scores go down in at least one area, in 4th grade math.

The Politics K-12 take: It’s way too early to use these results to judge the success of Race to the Top, or any winning state. But D.C.'s math achievement is clearly worth studying. And, Hawaii, for all sorts of reasons, is a state to watch as the Race to the Top program gets implemented.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
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.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
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.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

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 Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP
Education Funding Can Governors Really Take Money From Schools Over Masks?
State leaders are using the threat of funding cuts as a weapon in the mask debate—but it's not clear if they can or will follow through.
7 min read
Conceptual image of hundred dollar bills with some of the images of Benjamin Franklin masked.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock