Race To the Top Finalists and a Clear Crystal Ball

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Around 11:00 this morning, the winners of the Race to the Top competition for education-oriented stimulus dollars were announced. According to the Washington Post’s website, they are Tennessee and Delaware.

According to the Post, “Education Secretary Arne Duncan picked the winners after a team of judges in the Race to the Top competition unexpectedly gave tiny Delaware the highest ranking, with Tennessee close behind. Delaware won as much as $107 million and Tennessee could be awarded $502 million.” The immediate runners up were Georgia and Florida.

Meanwhile, there’s likely to be a fair amount of debate about how these two states were picked. And we have a little light to shed. Recently, The National Counsel on Teacher Quality selected three states that appeared to be the strongest contenders to get the green light — two of which were Delaware and Tennessee.

That’s pretty impressive we think. How did they get their batting average so high? They didn’t look at state budgets or the hundreds of pages of appendices attached. They simply looked at the “narrative portions of the ‘Great Teachers and Leaders’ section of each finalist’s application only, because it is the place where states are asked to provide their visions for recruiting, preparing, evaluating, retaining and rewarding effective teachers in their states.”

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