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McDonnell camp does not deny Virginia might drop from Race to the Top

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell's office is not exactly shooting down a recent report from Post reporter Nick Anderson, which indicated that Virginia education officials are thinking about withdrawing their application for federal Race to the Top funds.

All McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson had to say when asked to respond to the story was that the "the administration is reviewing the issue, and we will have further comment in the coming weeks."

The notion that Virginia might withdraw from the competition, which awards big federal grants to states trying innovative education techniques, is intriguing. After all, McDonnell (R) repeatedly praised President Obama during the campaign for the Race to the Top program, with its emphasis on merit pay for teachers, raising student achievement standards and charter schools.

And McDonnell urged the General Assembly to adopt a package of education proposals that will make it easier to start new charter or virtual schools in Virginia in part because he said the new laws would improve the Commonwealth's chances at winning the federal dollars.

Virginia finished 31 of 41 states in the competition's first round, when grants were won last month by Tennessee and Delaware. Bids for the second round are due June 1 and federal education officials have said 10 to 15 states could win money this time around.

Stay tuned.

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By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 20, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Race to the Top, Virginia  
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Race grants are targeted towards achievement of specific goals contrary to McDonnell's education objectives. While accomplishments achieved under the previous administration--ones that, it must be said, the Governor supports--win support, his current policy goals conflict with the grant program's objectives. If Virginia remains in the competition, it is unlikely that it would achieve success--and McDonnell's educational policy would be exposed for being out of date.

Posted by: ViennaBelle | April 23, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

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