All of the buzz about Louisiana’s chances for a piece of the U.S. Department of Education’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top funding has fizzled — at least for now. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced today that only Delaware and Tennessee will get first-round funding from the program, which is designed to support public education reform. Delaware will receive approximately $100 million and Tennessee $500 million to implement their comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years.

About $3.4 billion remains in the fund, and presumably other round one finalists like Louisiana will be well-positioned for round two, though it is unclear how we were ranked in the initial round. Those applications are due June 1.

Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek had not issued a comment before press time.

The Race to the Top state competition is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:
• Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace;
• Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction;
• Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
• Turning around their lowest-performing schools.

In the initial phase, other finalists were the District of Columbia, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

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