It's crunch time for the dozen original Race to the Top winners, which are supposed to finish implementing their four-year education-improvement plans this year. And so far, three states already have won approval from the U.S. Department of Education for an extra year to finish some of their work. According to a Politics K-12 review of approved "no-cost extensions," those states are:
Florida—The state will push back by one year a $5 million project to bring school-level training materials and tutorials on the new common standards to classroom teachers. The state also plans to shift $1 million of its $700 million award to the fifth year to fund 9.5 full-time positions to finish managing its Race to the Top work.
Georgia—Already in trouble after deciding against implementing a performance-based compensation system, the state also has asked for extra time to finish its work. It won approval to shift $2.2 million to the fifth year, which will pay for five full-time state-level positions. In addition, it wants to use $415,000 in its fifth and final year to evaluate its progress and identify best practices.
Tennessee—Considered one of the better performing Race to the Top states in terms of implemention, Tennessee also is preparing to extend some of its work and will shift $337,000 to a final year to provide state-level oversight.
This is likely just the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect more states to petition for more time as they seek to make good on the bold promises they made four years ago to win this money.
What's more, in reviewing states' amendments in search of these deadline extensions, it became clear that implementing teacher evaluations continues to be a big trouble spot for most Race to the Top states. And, these states got a lot of money to help them dramatically revamp how they evaluate teachers. If they are stuggling mightily, this only foreshadows the challenges for non-Race states that are doing this work without the added cash.