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Georgia Still in Hot Water Over Race to Top


The U.S. Department of Education has not been swayed by Georgia's passionate defense of its teacher-evaluation plans, which are somewhat in conflict with what the state promised to do when it won a coveted Race to the Top grant.

In a new letter to the state, the federal department's Race to the Top implementer-in-chief Ann Whalen reiterated that Georgia is still on high-risk status over concerns about the "overall strategic planning, evaluation, and project management" for its new teacher-evaluation system. The Aug. 1 letter from the department reads a lot like the original July 2 letter that put Georgia on notice that it might lose $33 million of its $400 million Race to the Top grant for failing to make good on its promises on teacher evaluations.

The federal department went a bit further in its new letter and questioned whether Georgia is implementing its new system in a "comprehensive and deliberate manner." What's more, the letter says, the state had "ample opportunities" to demonstrate its progress but has failed to do so.

The department did throw Georgia a small bone, however. It extended the deadline by which the state must submit a new plan, timelines, and list of deliverables for its teacher-evaluation system. The deadline had been Aug. 1; now it's Oct. 15. UPDATED (7:15 P.M.): A Georgia education spokesman said the state will be able to comply with the new deadline.

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