The U.S. Department of Education received 371 applications for the latest round of the Race to the Top competition, which focused on individual school districts or consortia of smaller districts rather than states. As Politics K-12 reported, the 371 applications represented 1,189 schoo districts. Close to 900 districts and consortia had expressed an intent to apply back in August when the final rules for the competition were announced.
A number of districts had trouble getting their unions to sign off on the Race to the Top proposals, which I wrote about for this week's issue of Education Week. (You can find more details about those squabbles here.) Two California districts, Glendale and Los Angeles, submitted applications anyway. The requirement for union sign-off was new to this iteration of the competition, and may have been a lesson learned from previous federal grant programs, including Race to the Top: When unions don't agree to grant requirements beforehand, programs sometimes don't get implemented as intended.
In an interesting twist, in the Central Unified school district in California, the union's president Gaye Lewis signed off on the district's application—and then stepped down because the union's members were upset with the decision.
Of course, some districts also didn't apply for reasons unrelated to unions. Burlington, Vt., superintendent Jeanne Collins said that her district had simply decided that "jumping through the hoops" and spending time and money on the complicated application was not worth it. And some districts where there's been notable district-union contention—Chicago, for example—did submit applications with union sign-off...
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Race to the Top District Competition Received 371 Applications
This from District Dossier: