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Feds Reviewing States' Work on Race to Top

By guest blogger Sean Cavanagh

Like teenagers pulling all-nighters to polish off term papers, the winning states in round two of the Race to the Top competition scrambled to turn in documents showing how they would execute grand visions for education policy. (Turn in a lousy term paper, you get a bad grade. Fail to live up to your RTT promises, you could lose hundreds of millions of dollars.) The good news for states: they made the deadline. How will their work be judged by the U.S Department of Education? They'll have to wait and see.

The federal agency will be giving all 10 of the round-two winners in the competition feedback on their plans by Dec. 10, and the department will work with them to hone those documents, spokeswoman Sandra Abrevaya said today. States have already received 12.5 percent of their total awards, which range from $75 million to $700 million.

Some states, such as Florida, Ohio, and Massachusetts, had anywhere between a couple of dozen local schools or districts drop out of their plans. How many local participants could beg out of a plan before it jeopardizes a state's multi-million dollar award?

At this point the department is only saying it will make those calls on a "case-by-case" basis," Abrevaya said.

"The most important criteria here is that the integrity of the proposal is maintained," she said.

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