Forty states and the District of Columbia applied for the first round of $4 billion in the Race to the Top Fund competition, which pits states against each other for desperately needed money, bragging rights, and leverage to implement controversial education reforms such as merit pay for teachers.
The 10 states that did not apply by the first round’s Jan. 19 deadline were: Alaska, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. Those states that did not apply, and any losing states from the first round, will be able to compete in the second round of competition, which is set for June.
“This exceeded our expectations,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has made Race to the Top the most high-profile piece of his education reform agenda, said in a statement. “We received word from 40 states that they intended to apply, and thought there might be some drop-off. There wasn’t.” ...
Last fall Swift and Change Able looked at an analysis of which states are likely in the best position to compete for RTTT dollars. Here's the take on Kentucky's chances from the New Teacher Project which notes that Kentucky lacks one or more of the selection criteria. Since that time, Kentucky refused to enact a (bad) charter law.
Kentucky, like 10 other states, has no charter schools now because it has no state authorizing law. But that could be changing.
Two bills to create charter schools or "public school academies" have been filed at least in part as a result of the state’s RttT aspirations.
Support is said to be growing, but the politics will be tricky. Gov. Steve Beshear says "all options are on the table." Teachers unions are vowing to lobby against the bills, on the basis that they are "anti-public school." Supporters include an odd, but increasingly common across the country, alliance of "a group of black Louisville pastors and the Bluegrass Institute, a conservative education think tank."