Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Real Race Begins: Lessons from the First Round of Race to the Top

An OUTSTANDING slide presentation ( by The New Teacher Project about RTTT, praising the many good things about it, but showing how the scoring system can (and must) be improved.  Here's the summary:


Dear Colleagues,


Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the first-round winners of the Race to the Top competition. Making good on its promise to hold states to a high bar for reform, the Department selected only 2 states out of 16 finalists and 41 total applicants for awards: Delaware and Tennessee.


These states won because they outlined bold, comprehensive visions of reform and demonstrated the ability to make them a reality. The New Teacher Project congratulates both states on their well-deserved wins, and commends the Department of Education for the ambition, focus and transparency of this historic initiative.


But this was only the first leg of Race to the Top. With $3.4 billion remaining to be awarded, the real race now begins. As states competing for funding look ahead to Round 2, what can they learn from Round 1 to position themselves to win? As the Department of Education prepares for a new cycle of applications, how can it improve its review process to ensure Race to the Top lives up to its name?


Today, we are releasing a new analysis that answers these questions. The Real Race Begins: Lessons from the First Round of Race to the Top closely examines the scoring and results of the first set of finalists. It refutes some of the most common myths about Race to the Top and explains what applicants to Round 2 can learn from states that stood out.


Importantly, this analysis also identifies scoring deficiencies that the Department of Education must address. These challenges have attracted growing attention and concern. In fact, entirely coincidentally, the New York Times published an unrelated article on the matter earlier today. While these issues did not result in a lowering of the bar for Round 1 winners, in Round 2 they could cause less-deserving states to win at the expense of those truly committed to and capable of dramatic reform. This outcome would undermine what has been a visionary education agenda by the Obama administration to date.


Delaware and Tennessee have set a new benchmark for reform that Round 2 applicants must meet in order to win. Among all the finalists' plans are model practices and strategies that can accelerate change for schools across the country. The next eight weeks offer an unprecedented window of opportunity for education reform in the United States. 


It's time to get to work.


The New Teacher Project

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