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Race to the Top school reforms: Will they make a difference?

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The federal Department of Education today announced the 10 winners of the second round of the Obama administration's Race to the Top program:

Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.

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The billions in grants these winners will now share were designed by federal officials to spur reforms in K-12 public education.

As a recent Monitor article notes:

Since it was announced, 23 states have passed reform laws around things like charter schools and teacher evaluations to improve their chances of winning, according to the [Democrats for Education Reform]. Just since Round 1, a number of states – including Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island – passed major reforms.

“States wouldn’t have stepped up the way they’ve stepped up without the competition,” Mr. Barone says. “That’s just the reality.”

The White House says this program encourages bold thinking and rewards innovation. Critics have complained that it distributes federal taxpayer money according to a competition, not demonstrated need.

Do you think reforms inspired by Race to the Top could make a difference in your school district?

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