Twenty-four hours from now, we'll at last know which states survived the first round of elimination to be finalists for Round Two of the Race to the Top sweepstakes. There's $3.4 billion still in the bank for the winning states.
Michele McNeil, blogger over at Politics K-12, and I put our heads together to come up with a list of 20 states that we think will end up on the list of finalists. Much of our rundown looks like the one we predicted for Round One (minus the fun, NCAA-inspired brackets), although this time we allowed for more finalists since there's going to be at least 10 winners, and maybe as many as 15.
You'll notice that some of the new states we've added to our list from last time include Oklahoma, which Michele likes as a dark horse for the aggressive package of legislation it passed in the last few months. California was on the list before as a wild card, but it was really, really a stretch. It ended up ranking 27th out of 41 applications.
I think the state has a more legitimate shot this time, if for nothing else than going with an entirely different tack in Round Two. Rather than mustering as many districts and local teachers' unions to buy in to the state's plan, as many states seemed to do in their second try at this, California opted to limit its application only to those districts that signed on fully to its menu of reform proposals.
Michele and I also put Maryland on our list of finalists. Remember that Maryland sat on the sidelines for Round One, so we don't have an earlier application on which to judge the state. Overall, though, Maryland is a state that gets pretty high marks when it comes to its school improvement track record and student performance (albeit, not for its charter school policies).
Below is our slate in full. Let us know what you think—are we in the ballpark or completely off the mark? By the way, is it just me, or does this run up to Round Two feel, well, kinda anti-climatic compared to Round One back in March? Is there such a thing as RTT fatigue?
District of Columbia