If you're a finalist for a Race to the Top grant in Round 1 of the competition, then the week of March 15 is when your state team will have to come to Washington, D.C. and make your in-person pitch to the peer reviewers. This nugget of information, plus more on the Race to the Top timeline, is contained in a new FAQs document released by the U.S. Department of Education today. Those who are finalists will be notified around March 1, which leaves about two weeks for states to prepare their Olympic-sized sales pitches. It's unclear if ...


So we're supposed to get hit with quite the winter storm here on the East Coast. Once you've stocked up on milk and toilet paper and are cuddled up with your hot chocolate, check out these good reads: At Flypaper, Andy Smarick dissects (in great detail) a trio of speeches by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. And while you're catching up with those Fordham folks, check out Mike Petrilli's Wall Street Journal op-ed on "Whole Foods" Republicans. Over at Teacher Beat, Stephen Sawchuk notes the Florida Education Association isn't too wild about this whole Race to the Top competition. Alexander ...


Will states change laws in hopes of winning a Race to the Top grant, but make those legal changes contingent on actually winning a grant?


With the Race to the Top deadline just around the corner, education policy wonks are already sizing up the competition to figure out who's already in the lead, and who isn't. Vegas odds probably aren't favoring these 14 states, which didn't meet the Gates Foundation's litmus test for qualifying for RttT technical assistance: Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont. After hearing grumbles from state officials, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation opened up its technical assistance planning grants to all states. Twenty-four applied, and 10 won these Gates-funded ...


New measure would include $23 billion to help save and create education jobs, on top of the economic-stimulus package which is already pouring more than twice that much state coffers for that purpose.


Some state officials have a sneaking suspicion that Race to the Top is an urban state's game and that has made some question whether they should apply, at least in Round 1. For instance, Vermont had originally planned to apply for Round 1 of the competition, but is now going to hold off for Round 2, Rae Ann Knopf, the deputy commissioner of education transformation and innovation, told me. That's why you won't see Vermont's name on the U.S. Department of Education's list of states planning to apply in the first round. The state decided to sit out the ...


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education released a list of 36 states that plan to apply for Race to the Top Fund grants in Round 1. I blogged about this, making clear that the department's list wasn't necessarily the final word on Round 1 applicants for the economic-stimulus money. And, indeed, it's becoming clear that several states that did not file their letters of intent do plan on applying in Round 1. Thanks to those who left comments, or called me, to fill me in on their states' plans. Informally, it seems that North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Michigan ...


The U.S. Department of Education has posted a list of 36 states that have signaled they plan to apply for a $4 billion Race to the Top grant in Round 1. To figure out how many peer reviewers they need, the Department apparently asked states to send them a letter if they intend to apply in Round 1. This doesn't mean these states will apply, nor does it mean states that aren't on this list won't necessarily apply, but it certainly is a good indication. Round 1 applications are due January 19; Round 2 will be due June 1. ...


Congress has now given final approval to the long-delayed education spending bill for fiscal year 2010. If you leave out the stimulus, there was basically flat funding for most education programs, plus a huge boost for some Obama administration priorities. (School districts that want to try out merit pay will be especially psyched about a huge increase for the Teacher Incentive Fund, bringing the program to $400 million, up from just under $100 million last year). But most of the major work, including huge increases for Title I and students in special education, was taken care of in the stimulus. ...


After listening to the second half of the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top technical seminar, it's clear that there are many, many state-specific circumstances for which state teams want answers. South Dakota asked if Indian-chartered schools count as charter schools. Hawaii officials had a few questions about how the application applies to them since they have a single state-run school district. New Hampshire wanted to know if its existing New England consortium on common standards counts as much in earning points toward a grant as the larger Common Core effort. Such are the challenges for Race ...


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