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Education Funding

Race to the Top Application: Huge Time Thief?

By Alyson Klein — August 11, 2009 1 min read

States that want a piece of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund will have to roll up their sleeves and put in some manpower.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria, it’s going to take states a total of 642 hours to complete the applications.

That means that it would take two staff members, working full-time on just the Race to the Top criteria and nothing else, about two months.

The time requirements, advocates say, might be particularly tough on rural states that just don’t have a lot of extra capacity. (Of course, some lucky states—such as Kentucky—seem to be getting a hand from the Gates Foundation with filling out their applications).

The time crunch could have an even bigger impact on districts that have to provide states with much of the information, advocates say. Again, that might be particularly tricky for rural districts that don’t have a lot of personnel to devote to the applications.

The department’s draft regulations ask states and other stakeholders to comment on the paperwork burden, so we’ll see if that’s a recurring theme once the comments start rolling in.

My co-blogger, Michele, is working on a story about this issue of capacity, and is looking for more perspectives. So, what do you think? Are there too many hoops to jump through? Or is this a good way to set a high bar early on the process, in that if you want a Race to the Top grant, you’re really going to have to log some time?

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