Race to the Top Analysis: Spreading The Wealth

July 28, 2010 | Blog

EPILOGUE (8/24/2010): Well, my predictions below didn’t quite pan out. FL and RI came in strong, but IL and SC flopped (but by mere points, of course). I was almost right that with two large states funded — Florida and New York — it would limit the number of winners. But the predicted nine became ten with the surprise inclusion of Hawaii (75 mil) among the winners, along with DC (also only 75 mil). For more on the winners, see here.

Education Week (and its Politics K-12 blog), the Hechinger Report, the New America Foundation’s Ed Money Watch, and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education have provided some excellent Race to the Top Phase 2 analysis.

Based on Phase 1 scores, reviews of Phase 2 applications, and other considerations, I believe Florida, Illinois, Rhode Island and South Carolina are locks for Phase 2 funding. [UPDATE (8/4/2010): One thing that should be concerning to Georgia is an extremely low level of district buy-in (14%) to its application. The only two other states below 50% buy-in are California (18%) — by design — and Pennsylvania (32%). As a result I’ve moved Georgia from a ‘lock’ to a ‘strong’ contender.]

Further, I think that Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania have strong chances at winning Phase 2 funding. (That would place the remaining finalists — Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Hawaii and New Jersey — outside the winners’ circle.) That said, which and how many states will eventually be funded from the remaining pot of $3.4 billion is largely contingent upon the successes of the Big Three, each eligible to win $700 million: Florida, New York and California. The presence of numerous $400 million eligible states in the mix also has the potential to limit the number of winners.

Let’s look at a variety of scenarios, assuming in each case that Florida can bank on the $700 million. Of the three, I think New York has the next best shot at the dollars, with California’s chances slightly less. In each case, I have listed the states in Phase One rank order (so feel free to replace any with your preference).

Scenario #1 (Florida only)
TOTAL = $3.375 billion 11 States

STATE
Florida
MAX. AWARD

$700,000,000

PHASE 1 RANK

4

Georgia $400,000,000 3
Illinois
So. Carolina
$400,000,000
$175,000,000
5
6
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Kentucky
$400,000,000
$75,000,000
$175,000,000
7
8
9
Ohio $400,000,000 10
Louisiana $175,000,000 11
No. Carolina $400,000,000 12
DC $75,000,000 16

Scenario #2 (Florida & New York)
TOTAL = $3.425 billion 9 States

STATE
Florida
MAX. AWARD

$700,000,000

PHASE 1 RANK

4

New York
Georgia
$700,000,000
$400,000,000
15
3
Illinois
So. Carolina
$400,000,000
$175,000,000
5
6
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Kentucky
$400,000,000
$75,000,000
$175,000,000
7
8
9
Ohio $400,000,000 10

Scenario #3 (Florida, New York & California)
TOTAL = $3.325 billion 8 States

STATE
Florida
MAX. AWARD

$700,000,000

PHASE 1 RANK

4

New York
California
Georgia
$700,000,000
$700,000,000
$400,000,000
15
27
3
Illinois
So. Carolina
$400,000,000
$175,000,000
5
6
Rhode Island
Kentucky
$75,000,000
$175,000,000
8
9
DC $75,000,000 16


Scenario #4 (Max. Applicants w/ Florida)

TOTAL = $3.4 billion 12 States

STATE
Florida
MAX. AWARD
$700,000,000
PHASE 1 RANK
4
Georgia $400,000,000 3
Illinois $400,000,000 5
So. Carolina $175,000,000 6
Pennsylvania $400,000,000 7
Rhode Island $75,000,000 8
Kentucky $175,000,000 9
Ohio $400,000,000 10
Louisiana $175,000,000 11
Massachusetts $250,000,000 13
Colorado $175,000,000 14
DC $75,000,000 16

Unless Florida somehow manages to fall on its face in Phase 2, I don’t think it is realistic to envision more than 12 applicants receiving funding — and that would require one of the $400 million-eligible states (such as North Carolina or Ohio) to be eclipsed and knocked out by a smaller state ranked lower in Phase 1 (such as Colorado, Massachusetts and/or the District of Columbia) or by Maryland, which did not apply in Phase 1 [see Scenario #4]. So although the U.S. Department of Education has dangled the possibility of as many as 15 Phase 2 winners, I don’t see realistically how we can get there.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Jill

    August 15, 2010

    This is a great breakdown and I hope more people read it!


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