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Edujobs or Race to Top: What's Worth More to States?

Depending on which state you live in, the edujobs bill may not be such a good deal—especially if your state might win a Race to the Top grant.

Given all of the debate about the Congressional proposal to siphon off $500 million from the Race to the Top program to give every state an additional chunk of money to save teachers' jobs, it seems valuable to look at the trade-offs states would have to make.

First, let's be clear about two things: States that have no chance of winning a Race to the Top grant in Round 2 would be better off if the edujobs bill passes, from a purely fiscal standpoint. So would states that are sure-fire bets to win in Round 2. (But is there such thing as a sure thing?)

States that would not be better off with edujobs are those that would rank near the cutoff point for the Round 2 winner's circle, since a loss of $500 million from the $3.4 billion left in Race to the Top could mean that one or two otherwise winning states could become losers. In most cases, states' Race to the Top grants would be larger than their edujobs allocations, which Michael Griffith over at Education Commission of the States has helpfully calculated. (The state-by-state edujobs breakdown starts on page 3 of the ECS document.)

Consider:

  • Louisiana, which placed 11th in Round 1, could win up to $175 million in Race to the Top versus $147 million under edujobs.
  • Oklahoma, which is trying to make a good run for a Round 2 grant after finishing 34th, would get up to $175 million from Race to the Top versus $119 million under edujobs.
  • New York, which placed 15th in Round 1, would get up to $700 million in Race to the Top versus $622 million under edujobs.
  • Colorado, which placed 14th in Round 1, would get up to $175 million in Race to the Top versus $157 million under edujobs.
  • Massachusetts, which placed 13th in Round 1, stands to gain about $45 million more from Race to the Top than from edujobs.
  • And North Carolina, which placed 12th in Round 1, could get a sizable $105 million more if it wins a Race to the Top grant, versus the money it would receive under edujobs.

You get the picture. (UPDATE: And for more analysis, check out this new brief from ECS on the practical effect of a funding cut to Race to the Top.)

One interesting question is whether the members of Congress from those states recognize this, and whether that will play a role in shaping the edujobs vs. Race to the Top debate.

UPDATE: Check out the beginnings of a great discussion in the comments section below about the differences in how you can use edujobs vs. Race to the Top money. That is an important factor.

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