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Governors Ask For Race to Top Feedback, Pronto

June 1—the deadline for states to submit applications for round two of the Race to the Top competition—is less than three months away, and governors who want their states to take another shot at a piece of the $4 billion in federal grants are hoping for more time to refine their applications that fell short in round one.

Nine governors—California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, Connecticut's M. Jodi Rell, Kansas' Mark Parkinson, New Hampshire's John H. Lynch, Oklahoma's Brad Henry, Oregon's Theodore M. Kulongski, South Dakota's M. Michael Rounds, Virginia's Robert McDonnell, and West Virginia's Joe Manchin III—sent a joint letter yesterday to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying they need feedback on their Race to the Top applications sooner than early April. The department has pledged to release the comments and scores from the competition's reviewers after the round one winners are announced.

If they can't get their comments and scores released sooner than that time frame, the governors want the department to extend the deadline for round two applications to July 1. Here's the relevant excerpt from their letter:

"Our states need more time to properly evaluate the changes needed to resubmit our applications, as well as to engage in meaningful and collaborative discussions with our legislatures, our schools, our unions, and our communities. We need to make informed changes to our applications, whether in the area of evaluations, turnarounds, standards, or data collection. These changes will be stronger if they are informed by the comments of those who reviewed our initial application.

Therefore, we request that you considerably accelerate the timeline for release of peer reviewers' comments and scores from Phase One or extend the deadline to submit our Phase 2 application until July 1, 2010; so our states can continue the necessary hard work, without losing momentum, to reform education and apply for Race to the Top Phase Two.

Will U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan budge on this? Those of us covering RTTT would LOVE to see the comments and scores released sooner rather than later.

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