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Who cares who gets the Race To Top dough?

Not me. I know what I would like to happen, but I have given up hope. I think this is like throwing money out the fifth floor Post newsroom window. A few people who have good ideas will grab some of those bills blowing around 15th Street and use them for the betterment of mankind. But that's just luck. I don't think the feds, led by any administration, have the power to make sure the money they are handing out on schools is well spent.

Andy Rotherham, a commentator at eduwonk, however, is not only younger and smarter than me, but is so wise about this process that some states asked him to review their submissions. He said this about the first round winners:

"Some states with good apps here but OH and NY is not a great sign…and IL and CO were arguably bubble states at best and not sure what SC means given how out of step they are with parts of the administration’s agenda. Hard to argue the political fix is in if SC is here though…And surprised that IN didn’t pop more, they had an interesting approach to this."

This proves my point. Even at this preliminary stage some of the states Rotherham thinks are most likely to do what the administration (and he and I) want are being cut out. I will be reading him to see if, at the end of this contest, he thinks someone won who deserves it, and why.

Read Jay's blog every day at

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By Jay Mathews  | March 8, 2010; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Andrew Rotherham, Race to the Top money, good states lose out, tossing money out the window  
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Like Jay, I read Rotherdam.

As Andy once well put it,
""First, at the elite level people get what’s going on..." "

I love a snob and defer to their superior knowledge and reasoning.

Posted by: edlharris | March 8, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Jay. In order to get the money, the states are mouthing what they guess the Feds want to hear. Nothing or nearly nothing is going to come of this.

Posted by: DanielTWillingham | March 9, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately it may not be who wins or loses the RTTT funds that matters, but how states change their laws and policies to TRY to win these funds. Without giving out one dollar, legislatures across the country are already considering, and in some cases changing, their charter caps, use of student performance data in teacher evaluation, etc. to try to make themselves more competitive for RTTT. Seems the Obama administration is getting a lot of bang without spending a buck so far. Of course, once the money does go out, we'll have to see if states stick to their plans, both those that receive awards and those that made changes but didn't get funded.

Posted by: gideon4ed | March 9, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Gideon makes a good point about the administration causing change without even spending the money. Unfortunately, what we're seeing isn't really education reform. It's governance, management, and measurement alteration. As a classroom teacher, I don't see anything here that's going to help me teach or help kids learn. Much of it will have no effect other than to enrich the publishers, consultants, charter management organizations (and their wealthy investors), and the purveyors of all things "data driven." Never mind that charters, on balance, have no better track record than non-charters. Never mind that the makers of state tests and the experts in educational measurement warn against using those tests for evaluation. In education right now, it seems that you can carry the day simply by attacking the status quo. You don't have to have any better ideas, and you don't even have to understand how the status quo evolved, as long as you look good in your super-hero cape, racing to the top in full-attack mode.

Posted by: DavidBCohen | March 10, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

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