EdWeek reports that “education policy wonks” are linking states’ odds of winning Race To The Top grants to whether or not they won technical assistance from the Gates Foundation.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation first offered $250,000 grants to 15 states that passed “litmus tests” on teacher tenure policies and student-teacher data. After a howl of protest from non-Gates-graced states, the Foundation threw open the door to everyone else contingent on effective applications and, in the end, awarded 10 more grants.
Edweek speculates that not winning a Gates grant is a bad sign for a state's RTTT prospects since the criteria are similar. The twenty-five winners shouldn't gloat, though: it seems unlikely that Duncan will be that generous in the first round. And where’s New Jersey in all of this? Edweek calls our club the “Disinterested Dozen,” since we join 11 other states that never even applied for help from the Gates Foundation: Alaska, California, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
To be fair, Virginia also has a new governor and maybe that's enough instability to blame for inaction. Still, Lucille Davy is hiring a consultant to help us complete our application after its brief hiatus, and that consultant's duties no doubt include technical assistance. Wouldn't it have been worth our while to stand in line and try for a Gates' hand-out?