Make that eight states that will compete for some of the $200 million in Race to the Top, Round 3.
That's after South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said "no thanks" today:
"The Race to the Top program expands the federal role in education by offering pieces of silver in exchange for strings attached to Washington. More federal money for education will not solve our problems. Schools need less, not more, federal intrusion to increase student achievement. The previous two rounds of Race to the Top were not competitive grant programs; they were top-down directives forcing states to adopt programs favored by Washington. Respectfully, South Carolina will not apply for this money."
Since South Carolina became one of nine finalists in the second round of Race to the Top last year, the state has seen a change in its elected state schools' chief and its governor, which probably explains this change of heart. Other states may be more willing to participate in the competition for what will likely be easy money. Lisa Gross, from the Kentucky Department of Education, told us today that her state is "always interested in additional funding streams" and will review the offer "closely". Anyone else hearing from the other seven states?