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How New York Could Lose by Winning

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Posted on March 8 2010 3:58 pm
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by Marcus A. Winters

Surprise! Education secretary Arne Duncan announced this week that New York is a finalist in the first round of the Race to the Top (RttT) grant competition, the Obama administration initiative that will reward states with federal education dollars if they adopt a range of reforms. The good news is that the state is still in the running for up to $700 million in funding, money that would help fill some immediate budget gaps. The bad news is that winning would set education reform in the state back years.

According to Department of Education guidelines, states improve their chances of getting RttT funds by adopting policies like merit pay, using student test scores to evaluate teachers, and eliminating caps on charter schools. States submitted applications in January, and an expert panel has been evaluating the proposals according to the stated RttT criteria ever since. The panel has whittled the list down to 16 finalists; now it’s up to Duncan to decide which states will receive grant money.

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