# 60: RTTT, Part 2

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QUOLKE’S CORNER #60
RACE TO THE TOP PART 2
The Department of Education announced yesterday the recipients of the Race to the Top (RttT) Grant. Ohio was not selected. Race to the Top is part of a $4.5 billion federal stimulus grant earmarked for school districts to make significant changes to improve education. States (not individual districts) had to apply for the grant. This was a competitive grant.  Race to the Top requires that states/school districts commit to closing the achievement gap and getting more students to go to college. Race to the Top also requires states/school districts commit to prescriptive reform requirements that are considered important to President Obama and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. 
Sixteen states, including Ohio, had made it through the initial round of selection. In the end only two states were selected – Delaware and Tennessee. While these two states were selected, their final funding has yet to be determined but may be significantly less than was each state applied for in their grant.   These states made a plan based on anticipated funding, the plan was approved, and now the funding may be dramatically reduced. But I guess they are in a better situation than the 40 other states that applied for RttT and were not selected. This shows the flaw in the funding school improvement through competitive grants. Flaws that our Congressional and Senate leaders need to address with the Obama administration as discussions regarding the reauthorization of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) are set to begin.
The fact that Ohio was not selected is a surprise to me and many others – not just those that I have spoken to locally but those that I have spoken to on a state and national level were also surprised. It is also frustrating and disappointing that after working out specific issues on a local level and with a local MOU that Dr. Sanders and I signed agreeing to collaborate, that after many districts on a statewide level agreed to participate and after making it to the final 16 states, only two states would ultimately be selected.
The CTU was ready to roll up our sleeves and work on issues with the District. We are still willing to work, but things cost money and with this funding eliminated – it will limit what we are able to do. I know the first question many will ask is how this will affect the Transformation Plan. I don’t know specifics, but it will create a larger hole in what the district was expecting as anticipated income. Additionally, the State of Ohio will be missing out on the $200 million portion of RttT they would have received. I don’t have a direct answer to the question now how RttT impacts the Transformation Plan on a local level or the impact on a state level. The announcement was just made and the time to evaluate its impact has yet to pass. I will keep you updated. 
 
In Union,
David