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An Olympic Pitch for Race to the Top

Read deep into the final regulations for Race to the Top, and you'll see an outline of how the Education Department plans to judge states' applications.

There's the 500-point grading scale, of course.

But for the finalists, there's one last step: Fly to Washington, bring your five best people, and give us one last sales pitch.

Kinda like the Olympics! Remember when Chicago brought in the Obamas, and even Oprah, to make the case to the Olympic Committee in Copenhagen? Course, it didn't turn out as Chicago had hoped.

For Race to the Top, it's an interesting twist on the judging process that's akin to the college interview. You've done the application, gotten those high SAT scores and grades, but now it's time to see what you're really made of.

What's also interesting is the department says, in the regulations, that it will put videos of the oral arguments online, or at least make a transcript available.

The regulations also specifically ban consultants from the group of five people that can make the pitch. Certainly, though, governors and chief state school officers will likely make the trip. But will states also bring any Oprah-like celebrities? We'll have to stay tuned.

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