States jump the gun on Race to the Top


Steve Chiotakis: State governors are holding their breath this morning waiting for word from the Department of Education on which states made it to the final round for a chance at some serious cash. The department is handing out billions of dollars -- $4 billion to be exact -- in grants as part of a new program called Race to the Top. Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson has more.

Jeremy Hobson: Race to the Top is all about competition -- which states are doing the best job turning around low achieving schools and effectively measuring student performance. Forty-one states applied for the first round of cash; 10 or 12 are likely to find out today that they are finalists.

Joel Packer: And in April, the expectation is a small number of three, four, five maybe will get awards.

That's Joel Packer of the Committee for Education Funding. He says the problem for states that don't get money in this round is that many have already counted their chickens, if you will.

Packer: Some states assumed they were getting this money and kind of put it in their proposed budgets. So in some states, depending how much they assumed they were getting this money, there could be a negative consequence of not getting this money simply because now they're going to have a bigger hole in their state budget.

In New York's proposed budget, for example, the governor assumed the state would get $750 million from Race to the Top. If that doesn't happen, a state education spokesman says, the impact would be significant.

In New York, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.


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