Race to the Top Education Grant Winners Announced

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by WI Guard Pics
The first round of the federal government's Race for the Top competition is over.  So how did American kids fare?

Not that great if you look at the announcement yesterday by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Duncan says just two states -- Delaware and Tennessee -- are walking away with chunks of the $4.35 billion education stimulus plan.

The Washington Post estimates tiny Delaware will get the smaller portion -- about $107 million -- and Tennessee stands to claim about $502 million in federal grants.

This is just round one, with states getting another bite at the apple this September. Described by the Obama administration as a means to "designed to spur systemic reform and embrace innovative approaches to teaching and learning in America’s schools," I can't help but wonder if the decision to crack the 16 finalists down to just two isn't meant to amp up the competition rather than a commentary on how fabulous Delaware and Tennessee fared.

No knock on two fine states, but Duncan has admitted he sees substantially more states getting through in the next round -- perhaps even as much as 10 or 15.

But in this struggling economy, there's no doubt any and all states could use this money now. I know my home state, New York (which ended up just one slot shy of the bottom of the barrel) is suffering from a $9 billion budget gap. And just in time for me to send my daughter to public school in the fall!

The next round begins with applications in June.

Do you think they should have expanded the winners in round one to kick start the improvement for more kids?

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