Given that the Race to the Top grants were doled out according to such a specific rubric, and states sometimes won or lost by a hair, it is quite a story that in states with new leaders, we really have no idea which pieces of the promises will endure, and what the Department of Education will do about that.
Take the case of Ohio, which Catherine Candisky laid out in the Columbus Dispatch yesterday. Will the feds withdraw the whole $400 million if Gov.-elect John Kasich gets rid of certain elements laid out in the proposal? Could the state get compensatory credit, as it were, for Kasich’s support of charters, as a spokesman suggested? If the reality of reforms or even a new leader’s stated intentions do not match the RtTT application, yet the state holds onto its funds, is that fair to states that came close but lost out? If funds are withdrawn, might they be diverted to the also-rans?
Ohio is not the only Race to the Top winner to have a new leader; so do the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee. New leaders would not necessarily divert the reform agendas that won them RtTT money, but it’s a question to pursue, aggressively. (And know that continuity in leadership does not prevent other wrenches from being tossed into the political works too.)