Andy Smarick writes-up the final regulations. You can read all the docs here. But while he raises some important points, I think he misses the big understory, which is the evidence standards in the final draft. There was a pretty hot debate about them before the draft regs, and again before the final regs, and these standards set a pretty high bar for the big money that largely reflects the views of some senior administration officials with strong views on research evidence.
As a result, there are some organizations, including some Smarick cites, that may not be eligible for the big money. Not because they’re not producing results, but because they don’t have evaluations of sufficient methodological rigor completed yet.
In my view, that’s OK, this is a chance to step up the game on evaluation and start codifying some new standards (that hopefully will ultimately extend across federal education policy, right now federal programs are a political mish mash with regard to how much evidence matters to policy decisions). And the three-tier approach where money is proportional to evidence makes sense and allows for both scaling and innovation. But before the usual assortment of paranoids and the easily-fooled conclude that this is just a big scheme to send money to ventures favored by the administration, they should review the evidence standards and the evidence base.
All that said, if you thought RTT judging was going to be complicated, this is going to be unprecedented given the likely number of applications and the the volume of serious work reviewing them will require.