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California needs much stronger buy-in to win Race to the Top funds

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 8:32 pm in California, Education, Race to the Top, Theresa Harrington.

 

By Theresa Harrington

When California submitted its Race to the Top application, state officials were confident that sweeping legislation and promised district support gave them a fighting chance at winning the much-needed funding.

But today, they learned that California’s application ranked in the bottom half of the 41 submitted to the U.S. Department of Education — far below where it needed to be to make the first round of finalists — and woefully lacking enough statewide support to persuade federal officials to invest as much as $700 million for massive reforms in the state.

Like all the other states that lost out, California has the opportunity to reapply for a second round of funding by June 1.

But lukewarm support from teachers’ unions may doom any chance of receiving the funds. Little more than a quarter of teachers’ unions in the districts that signed onto the application endorsed the plan.

In Tennessee, on the other hand, 93 percent of teachers’ unions supported the state’s application, which won up to $502 million in the competition. California teachers don’t like provisions that could tie teacher evaluations to student performance, jeopardizing their tenure.

State officials are still reviewing comments from five reviewers who praised some elements of the application, but criticized it in other areas. The complete results are at: http://ow.ly/1sfVh.

Here’s how California, which ranked 27th, stacked up against its competition. Applicants are listed by rank, state and score out of 500 possible:

FIRST ROUND WINNERS:

1 Delaware: 454.6 — won as much as $107 million

2 Tennessee: 444.2 — won up to $502 million

UNSUCCESSFUL FIRST ROUND FINALISTS

3 Georgia: 433.6

4 Florida: 431.4

5 Illinois: 423.8

6 South Carolina: 423.2

7 Pennsylvania: 420.0

8 Rhode Island: 419.0

9 Kentucky: 418.8

10 Ohio: 418.6

11 Louisiana: 418.2

12 North Carolina: 414.0

13 Massachusetts: 411.4

14 Colorado: 409.6

15 New York: 408.6

16 Washington, DC: 402.4

STATES NOT SELECTED AS FINALISTS:

17 Arkansas: 394.4

18 New Jersey: 387

19 Utah: 379.4

20 Minnesota: 375.0

21 Michigan: 366.2

22 Hawaii: 364.6

23 Indiana: 355.6

24 Iowa: 346

25 Connecticut: 344.6

26 Wisconsin: 341.2

27 California: 336.8

28 Idaho: 331

29 Kansas: 329.6

30 New Mexico: 325.2

31 Virginia: 324.8

32 Wyoming: 318.6

33 Missouri: 301.4

34 Oklahoma: 294.6

35 Oregon: 292.6

36 West Virginia: 292.4

37 Alabama: 291.2

38 New Hampshire: 271.2

39 Nebraska: 247.4

40 Arizona: 240.2

41 South Dakota: 135.8

Do you think California should apply for Phase 2 funding? If so, how can it improve its application? If not, why?

 

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