RTT Finalists – Big Ten V. SEC?

Here’s the list of states invited to come to Washington: CO, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC,  & TN.

First reaction*:  With the obvious caveat that not all these states get money in the first round, still sort of an “uh oh.”   Some states with good apps here but OH and NY is not a great sign…and IL and CO were arguably bubble states at best and not sure what SC means given how out of step they are with parts of the administration’s agenda.   Hard to argue the political fix is in if SC is here though…And surprised that IN didn’t pop more, they had an interesting approach to this.  Stay tuned.

*Disc: I helped some states review their apps, including ones that did and did not make it to this round and some I’m picking on here.

9 Responses to “RTT Finalists – Big Ten V. SEC?”

  1. GGW Says:

    I wish I understood Duncan’s strategy here.

    Their best way to win is 3 winners in Round 1, then maybe 7 to 10 more in Round 2.

    If they do that, the “undernews” from wonk community will praise the Administration for BEING CAREFUL WITH MONEY. I think Obama could use that news cycle.

    But if you wanted to set the bar high, why kill your leverage by signaling to states that even if they whiff Round 1, they’re shoo-in for Round 2?

    It’ll just embolden the folks fighting against Administration. “We’re not moving more than cosmetically,” they’ll say at their various State Houses. “We’re gonna get the money with minor changes.”

  2. edlharris Says:

    RTTT Goals:

    * Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most;
    (Is it not great that there are public schools in this country that do not need effective teachers and principals? Just move all the effective teachers and principals to the schools where they are needed most.)

  3. SReckhow Says:

    Two things about this list jump out at me:
    - 10 of the 15 states that received funding from Gates to hire consultants for the RTT application are among the finalists. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2009/08/gates_gives_15_states_an_edge.html
    - Meanwhile, several of the states that tried to meet RTT criteria with new legislation are not finalists such as Michigan, California, and Iowa. It looks like Colorado was the only RTT finalist that passed new legislation in response to RTT but did not receive Gates funds. (though I’m not sure if my list of states that passed RTT-related legislation is complete)

    For state political leaders, doesn’t this send the message that changing policy doesn’t matter if you’re not somehow already in the “winner’s circle”?

  4. Lou Fleming Says:

    I am just glad they stayed out of the PAC 10! Obama and the rest his union busting gen x elitistist admnistration are no longer welcome on the west coast.

  5. Steve Peha Says:

    Let me throw in a very unpleasant wrinkle here.

    Living as I do in North Carolina, one of the finalist states, and knowing as I do a fair amount of “dirt” and other “scuttlebutt” about what is really going on here, and knowing just a little about what we wrote in our RttT application, I can tell you with almost complete confidence that the reason we — a charter-limited, non-test score-tied-to-teachers state, with an embarrassing conundrum of two co-equal state school executives who hate each other and who had to have a judge decide which one was actually in charge, and a district with the largest achievement gap in the nation, and the fact that we are one of the very last states in the country to have a judge presiding over an open civil rights class-action lawsuit (Leandro) in certain districts where African-American achievement is so low the judge recently referred to the situation as “academic genocide” — whew! gotta catch my breath for a sec — I was staggered to see that we made it to the Sweet 15. I then remembered something. The guy who runs our testing system, Lou Fabrizio, is much-beloved by the folks in Washington. I know that sounds utterly preposterous but I see no reason to recommend North Carolina for RttT funding unless you’re a big fan of Mr. Fabrizio, which many people in national testing circles are. (BTW…for more than 10 years, NC had one of the easiest tests in the nation. We recently made it a little harder and everybody freaked out because their scores went down. So Mr. Fabrizio found a great “loophole” to keep NC off the list of states that lowered its standards while still making it easier for kids to pass the new tests. We now have mandatory retesting for kids who miss by just a little bit. Not surprisingly, retaking the same test a week or two later raises passing rates by an average of 9% across reading, math, and science. So we knowingly crafted almost the worst tests in the nation, kept them for 10 years, then increased their rigor about 20%, and now we’re recovering that 20% by adding a procedural wrinkle that no one has yet connected to increases in test scores. No wonder Mr. Fabrizio is popular in the Beltway. No wonder NC, a state that announced proudly a few weeks ago that it “stood up to the feds” by proudly not raising its charter cap (which was reached several years ago and has not budged since), gains the favor of RttT “reviewers”. Lou Fabrizio is worth more in this deal than our senior senator and a ten pound bucket of barbecue.

    (Sorry if this sounds completely whacked. I probably shouldn’t have watched that Oliver Stone movie last week.)

  6. edlharris Says:

    *Disc: I helped some states review their apps, including ones that did and did not make it to this round and some I’m picking on here.
    Well, Gates scored 10 out of 15.
    How well did you do?

  7. Billy Bob Says:

    Well, the policy aim of the Duncanites is clear–fund states that have made a conscious decision to NOT invest on their schools and that constantly look for quick & cheap fixes to their education problems. A lot of the states are in the south and few invest any significant proportion of their GDP towards education.

    They should be able to show a lot of progress as well because–let’s face it–none of the southern states have particularly high levels of achievement.

  8. Billy Bob Says:

    Steve–dont bother the eduwonks with the dirty details of what goes on. They are too busy congratulating each other and sending each other grants to worry about things like research evidence or details.

  9. Gadis Bugil Says:

    Well, the policy aim of the Duncanites is clear–fund states that have made a conscious decision to NOT invest on their schools and that constantly look for quick & cheap fixes to their education problems. A lot of the states are in the south and few invest any significant proportion of their GDP towards education.

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