Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kentucky is finalist in Race to the Top federal education funding frenzy

But, will we get any money?

Just before the Senate Education Committee meeting started today, all sorts of key education types started running up to Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, excitedly congratulating him on getting Kentucky to the finals in the Race to the Top federal education funding sweepstakes.

It is exciting for our educators. A “win” in this game could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bluegrass State.

However, after a first look at the complete list of states that made the cut, I am wondering exactly how the selections, which were made in total secrecy, were determined.

The most glaring fact is that only one state West of the Mississippi River is in the final list of 16 states – just one. That high degree of regional bias is undoubtedly going to kick off a firestorm.

There are other surprises. Michigan, which entered the competition, was not selected despite legendary problems in the Detroit schools.

Arizona, California and New Mexico, despite large Hispanic populations and many English language learners, were also snubbed.

Moving back East, West Virginia with its legendary education issues failed the cut.

Anyway, as we wrote earlier the final winners are going to be selected by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. His office made it clear that he may disregard the results of the peer reviews and make the selection based on other, not yet announced, criteria.

Since Secretary Duncan is a big fan of charter schools, Kentucky still can’t plan on getting a dime of RTTT money.

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