Minnesota isn’t a finalist for Race to the Top grant

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Minnesota will miss out on a $330 million federal grant to bolster the state’s education system, after the federal Department of Education announced it was not a finalist for the Race to the Top grant program.

“Those that didn’t get in in the first round, we absolutely hope and expect that you’ll come back and apply for the second round,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a video announcing the 15 states and the District of Columbia that were named finalists.

Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s signature education reform, which aims to improve education via incentives, rather than penalties as was the case with the Bush administration’s reform plan, No Child Left Behind.

Duncan said previously that states will be shown the evaluations of their grant applications so that they can revise and improve them for future rounds of funding. Applications for the second round of Race to the Top are due in June, and Duncan said today he hopes there will be a third round as well.

The state’s plan was backed by 300 school districts and 116 charter schools that combined to cover about 93 percent of students, state officials said. However, the state’s top teacher’s union, Education Minnesota, had distanced itself from the application over concerns that participating schools would have to enroll in the state’s Q-Comp program, which links teacher performance to student results.

Linking teacher performance to student achievement, and the state’s high number of charter schools were two of the factors seen as most helpful for Minnesota’s application. Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2010 - 02:08 pm.

    Linking teacher performance to student achievement was the death knell for Minnesota’s application. The union didn’t want any part of money they’d have to actually show progress to earn, so they torpedoed the application.

    From the Star Trib story:

    “Education Minnesota had raised concerns about the application, something that may have hurt the state’s chances.”

    “Does Education Minnesota feel its partly to blame for the state not being named?”

    “I’m not worried about that,” [EdMN Teachers Union boss] Dooher said.”

    God, I feel sorry for struggling kids who are stuck in the public school system.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 03/04/2010 - 04:38 pm.

    The school that was told by Arne Duncan to “fire all the teachers” in order to improve its school apparently has very high percentages of students who live in poverty and therefore may not receive good nutrition or exposure to books or are English as a second language children of immigrants and I believe a couple other “ors.”

    Firing these teachers seems to be a poor way to help them help these children. Instead, how about giving the school district grants to hire more teachers and tutors.

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