NEW YORK - Michael Flanagan, Michigan's state superintendent of public instruction, was among school officials who questioned the process by which Race to the Top winners were picked, though he said he was satisfied by federal officials' explanation, according to a New York Times report.

The Times reported that many states have asked why Secretary of Education Arne Duncan awarded money to only Delaware and Tennessee out of 41 applicants. Some governors and education leaders say their states might not pursue the second round of funding, especially now that the federal government has capped the amount each state can receive, The Times reported.

The Times reported that one reviewer scored Michigan's application far lower than the four others, leading Flanagan to question the scoring process. The final scores were an average of the scores of five reviewers. Flanagan was told that "outlier" scores were investigated to make sure they represented the reviewer's sincere opinion and were not a mistake, The Times reported.

"In fairness, I think the feds had a good explanation," Flanagan said, according to The Times.

Like Michigan, California adopted new education laws as a way to strengthen its application, but the scoring criteria didn't give credit for that action, a state official there said, The Times reported.  Other officials said that, by failing to award more funding, the education department has made it easier for opponents to argue against education reform in the future.

SOURCE:
The New York Times, "States Skeptical About 'Race to Top' School Aid Contest," April 4, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Fighting for School Reforms – Against Whom?" March 8, 2010

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