race to the race to the top

New York

New York wins Race to the Top funds in its second try

New York State has won coveted federal Race to the Top grant funds in the second round of competition. State education officials spent this morning in a meeting as news of the win began to spread. Governor Paterson, State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Commissioner David Steiner and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein are expected to hold press conferences later in the afternoon. We'll have updates as we learn more. UPDATE:  The other winners are Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. One big question we don't know yet: exactly how much money the state has won. But by our math (see below), it seems possible that all of the winners will get the maximum amounts for which they are eligible. And Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch just told me that she's heard the state will receive almost all of the $696 million it asked for in its application. UPDATE: State officials have confirmed that New York's application will be fully funded. New York City is likely to see about $250-300 million of the state's award. Here's our summary of how the state plans to use the money, and here's our rundown of the lead-up to today's announcement. New York received the second-highest score overall in the competition's scoring rubric, coming behind only Massachusetts. (The list of the winning applicants and their final scores is below the jump.) This is the state's second try at the funds; in the first round, New York placed second-to-last among all the finalists. The formal announcement of winners will come this afternoon from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. We'll have updates throughout the day.
New York

We read the Race to the Top application so you don't have to

Raise your hand if you know what the state's 450-page Race to the Top application actually says. Besides, of course, "We raised the cap on charter schools and came up with a new way to evaluate teachers." Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to what the application actually proposes, including some details about the proposal that I hadn't heard before I read it. The application is divided into four main goals. You can find more background on Race to the Top here, and a copy of the state's second round application is here. Making better tests and curriculum: National reading and math curriculum standards are coming, and New York education officials plan to opt in to them. The state wants to spend $26 million to write curriculum based on the new standards, which will show up in classrooms beginning in February 2012. Another $40 million would be used to create new tests, including a way to judge kindergartners through third-graders' progress in learning to read. Students would start to take initial versions of those tests in January 2012. The final versions of exams based on the new standards would be due in 2015. Building new databases to track student progress: By "data systems," the state means a program that can track students' academic progress from the very beginning of their education to the end. The state wants to spend $50 million in Race to the Top funds to help build a program that will be used state-wide. Another $10 million would go toward linking information from grade schools to information from New York’s colleges and universities. The application describes a future data system that sounds a lot like ARIS, the city's $81 million data system launched in 2008.
New York

New York's second-round Race to the Top bid hits the web

Less than an hour after the state's second-round Race to the Top application was due in Washington, state officials have posted its new plan to the public. Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said today that the newest version of the application is "round one plus the legislation." She was referring to the two major pieces of legislation Albany passed in recent weeks designed to boost the state's application: a new teacher evaluation system that includes measures of student achievement and Friday's move to raise the state's cap on charter schools. Tisch added that the state education department also boosted the application's section on its data systems, an area where the state lost points in the first round. "Everything is good," Tisch said. "And here we move on." But there are likely to be some changes in the 450-page application released today that go beyond the addition of a new teacher evaluation system and the possibility of 260 more charter schools. State officials have already said they intended to scrutinize the budget's every line to weed out expenses such as the now-infamous executive chairs that helped doom the first application. And there are likely to be other substantive changes as well. We'll have a run-down of the highlights of this round's application later; in the meantime, help us find the most interesting parts by posting in the comments below. You can read more about the Race to the Top competition here, and read New York's first-round application here. And the full second-round application is below the jump:
New York

For Race to the Top’s round two, state offers all-or-nothing deal

After being criticized for fudging union support for its first-round Race to the Top application, New York State education officials are proceeding cautiously to make sure that they're not embarrassed again. In order to be eligible for any grant funds that the state might win, school districts, charter schools and unions are required to submit a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to participate in programs proposed by the state's application. This round's deadline to sign onto the application is 5 p.m. tomorrow. In the first round, the MOU listed individual tenets of the state's Race to the Top plan and allowed districts to choose a la carte which provisions they supported. The teachers union agreed only to provisions that would not require a change to its contract. Though the state claimed to have the full support of the city union, Race to the Top judges said that the qualified agreement would hurt the state's ability to enact its plan. (You can read more about the state's failed first-round application here.) This round's MOU is an all-or-nothing deal — districts, schools and unions must agree to everything in the state's plan or not sign on at all. That won't be a problem if union and city negotiators hash out a deal tonight to raise the charter cap and smooth the way for full passage of the teacher evaluation deal struck by the state and union earlier this month. But if a deal falls apart, the city and union will be forced to choose whether to sign onto the application anyway. In the first round, the city unsuccessfully tried to use its MOU signature as a bargaining chip to pressure legislators into lifting the charter school cap. A copy of the current MOU, as well as the state's "Frequently Asked Questions" document about it, is below the jump:
New York

Race to the Race to the Top: Live-blogging Albany's debate

With just hours before the state's Race to the Top application is due in Washington, legislators in Albany are scrambling to deal with the cap on charter schools, considered a make-or-break component of the application. Anna will be sending updates from Albany today. 6 p.m. Now the city stakeholders are weighing in. Here's the response from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who in recent days launched a strong public relations offensive against Sampson and Silver's bill: "Sadly, some 36,000 New York City students on waiting lists for charter schools - and thousands more who need and deserve better educational choices - were told today to wait longer, because help is not on the way. The Governor proposed a bill that would create options for those children and help the State win $700 million in federal money. It was the only bill that had the support of a majority of Senators, yet the Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly defeated it without even a vote - on the same day the Governor's budget presented a $1 billion cut to school aid statewide. While others played Russian roulette with our children's futures, great credit is due to Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, the members of his conference, and Democratic Senator Craig Johnson - the sponsor of the Governor's bill - who fought to make New York's Race to the Top application as strong as possible. And while I rarely hesitate to speak my mind when I disagree with someone, I also try to give credit where it is due and want to thank Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. for his help on this important issue. Our children and their parents are owed a second chance from the Legislature. They deserve nothing less." And here's the response from city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew. The UFT issued a report earlier this month on how charter schools serve the city's neediest students, and many of its recommendations were echoed in the legislature's bill. "New York State had a chance to address the glaring inequities in charter school admissions, to increase the transparency of charter operations and to force profiteers out of the charter business," Mulgrew said. "But charter advocates and their allies resisted these desperately needed reforms, to the point where the Legislature was unable to act." 5:45 p.m. Senate Republicans are signaling they will use the legislature's failure to act today as a weapon against Democrats who run for re-election. "I am extremely disappointed that the Governor's legislation to enhance New York's opportunity to secure federal education funds was not brought up for a vote in the Senate," Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said in a statement. "I'm confident it would have passed and strengthened the state's application for the Race to the Top program." "Once again, when an important deadline was upon us and action was needed on an important issue, the Democrats in both houses were unable to act," he said.
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