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Feds Offer Race to Top Guidance to Winning States

Federal officials have a message for the winning Race to the Top states: stick to your academic goals, and hold on to the support of participating unions and districts, according to new guidance sent to governors and other school officials.

Eleven states, plus D.C., walked away with awards in the competition last year. Some of the winners have been asking the department for direction on how far they can go in making changes to their award-winning plans—which earned them grants ranging from $75 million to $700 million—before they put that money at risk.

The guidance, sent to ed officials in the winning states late last week, says that states must seek approval to make changes to their academic goals and timelines, to make "major" alterations to their budgets, or to add or delete schools or districts from their plans. U.S. Department of Education officials also say they expect states to stick to the core principles of the program, including the annual performance targets they promised to hit when they applied.

What kind of message does the department's guidance send to the states? Does it offer clarity or confusion?

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