In Race to the Top horserace, national school choice group deems Georgia a long shot

On the eve of the US DOE announcement of which 16 finalists win Race to the Top grants, a national education organization deems Georgia a long shot.

Playing off a racing form and using racing parlance, the Center for Education Reform gives Georgia 10 to 1 odds of winning one of the coveted federal grants. Keep in mind that the center promotes education choice and vouchers,  so it sees education issues through that lens and likely sees Georgia falling short in those areas.

CER’s Racing Form handicaps the 15 states and the District of Columbia in the final round, giving its nod to four with strong charter school law and a commitment to alternative teacher certification.

“If the federal government wants to bet money on states that will likely use extra funding to spur innovation and implement reforms that help kids learn — only four of the 16 should be at the head of the pack,” said Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform president.

So who does the center see in the winner’s circle? Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida and Louisiana.

According to the center’s tongue-in-cheek tip sheet on Georgia:

Owners and trainers paint a pretty  picture, but Georgia Peach has a lot of  rough edges; charters have limited options and inequities abound; good teacher evaluation plans from the top are mired by political opposition and low LEA buy-in could mean trouble; likely no winner’s circle appearance.
Odds 10:1
Pays: $462,288,921

I am not a betting sort, but I would disagree that the state’s odds are 10 to 1.

We’ll see in a few hours.

31 comments Add your comment

Northern Visitor

March 28th, 2010
9:16 pm

No, they are more like 100 to 1.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: In Race to the Top horserace, national school choice group deems Georgia a longshot [...]

Lisa B.

March 28th, 2010
9:22 pm

The “race” is political. I would imagine Georgia went down a couple of notches when our governer decided he would rather sue than force Georgians to pay fines for lack of health insurance.

The General

March 28th, 2010
9:27 pm

So as not to require the death knell of merit pay to be enacted, let’s hope Georgia is not one of the winners.


March 28th, 2010
10:43 pm

Are we supposed to be rooting for our state to “win”?

Teaching in FL is worse

March 28th, 2010
10:53 pm

Let Florida have it!


March 28th, 2010
11:15 pm

What happened to the blog about the Bleckley prom?

free market educator

March 28th, 2010
11:59 pm

This is good news! The Constitution does not have an enumerated power for the Feds to play “Candy Man” to the so-called “public” property tax supported schools. SUING THE FEDS OVER THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEATH CARE LAW IS MONEY WELL SPENT!


March 29th, 2010
1:44 am

I hope the odds makers are right on this one!

free market educator

March 29th, 2010
1:57 am

Amazing! John Conyers, House Judiciary Chairman MISQUOTES the Constitution. Looks like Michigan won the Race to the Bottom.

Attentive Parent

March 29th, 2010
5:27 am

Every prediction so far has Florida on the list. We will let them experiment with merit pay.

Lisa B- the states are suing over HCR because much it will vastly increase the Medicaid bills the states must pay.

Since Medicaid and education are the two largest components of most state’s budgets, many analysts in the last week around the country are predicting that the new health care mandates will result in even more cuts to education in the future.

It’s frightening that these shortfalls in the state’s education budget will continue and likely get worse. The increase in Medicaid spending will be required while the ed spending is “discretionary”.

Guess who will bear the brunt of the cuts and still lose out even if taxes are raised?

We're not ALL stupid!

March 29th, 2010
6:56 am

@free market educator: Was that koolaid tasty?


March 29th, 2010
7:45 am

Thank God. Best news of the day. Let someone else kneel down for the ransomed grant money. I, the individual taxpayer of Georgia, have the right to educate my child the best I can given local decisions.

The Federal Government does not belong in the local education business or local healthcare business.

The CBO stated: “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”


March 29th, 2010
7:51 am

The Center for Education Reform has watched Georgia and especially Superintendent Wilbanks closely in action with charter commitment. They know of what they speak with their tip sheet.


March 29th, 2010
8:13 am

I would think that until the state fully funds its obligation (ie austerity cuts when times were flush), Georgia would not be in the race for anything. If you don’t use your local money correctly, WHY should you get additional federal money?

An advocate for public education change & choice

March 29th, 2010
8:48 am

Ditto to the comments from Jennifer & catlady. Frankly I think the Center for Education Reform’s handicapping of GA is unfortunately spot on.

Get ready people we’re only seeing the tip of the iceburg. Its is just me or are we not asking ourselves the real fundemental question that needs to be asked here.

Are the HUGE fiscal inbalances we’re seeing in local school districts across the states solely a result of State level budget cuts? Could it be that the State level cuts have exposed fiscal mis-management that’s been there the whole time just papered over with plump revenue streams that have now dried up?

A Different Opinion

March 29th, 2010
8:53 am

You know, why don’t we as a State, get off our collective Butts and do something for ourselves instead of always counting on our “Soon to become Socialist” Federal Bureaucracy to tell us what’s right and how we should teach and run our schools? Governor Purdue, please pick a group of our smartest business people in the state to work together to come up with the solutions to better our school systems…….that has got to be better than what is “Not Working” now!!!!!!!!!


March 29th, 2010
8:56 am

@JACKTEACH: For every person who does not have health insurance, YOUR taxdollars are used to pay for their health…either in healthcare centers or even more expensively, in emergency rooms where many have to go(often needlessly) because they cannot get basic care elsewhere. For those who actually CHOOSE not to have healthcare, we, the taxpayers, pay! One way or another, we pay. Before car insurance laws, there were those who CHOSE not to have it, so the responsible ones when in an accident, were left saddled with all the repair costs, medical costs and inconvenience, at fault or not. Looking at it from a Republican point of view (leaving off concern for folks who have been and would be wiped out financially by the astronomically high cost of medical care without insurance, and those who die needlessly fom lack of healthcare) requiring folks to have healthcare will help you keep your pockets well-lined. Isn’t that the real goal, anyway?!


March 29th, 2010
9:05 am

We don’t need Federal money?? well- maybe not, and we do need to stop being stupid. Georgians to understand that the state cannot exist without income. Parents cannot expect a decent education for their kids without PAYING for it and even if our taxes go up a little, we still get a bargain with public schooling – Raising taxes even slightly during tough times is going to be necessary in addition to cleaning up the waste. Wasting tax dollars on grandstanding political posturing at a time like this is irresponsible. Don’t send the kids to school until after labor day and allow more tourist money to flow back into the state (that was a really stupid move). Get rid of the pricey superintendents, too many administrators and too many school boards. We don’t need them and they help NOTHING. There’s a good start.


March 29th, 2010
9:06 am

correction: Georgians need to understand

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tessvis. tessvis said: RT @ajc: On our radar this afternoon: Ga. will learn if it gets coveted federal grant for education. [...]


March 29th, 2010
9:51 am

It will never work.

Attentive Parent

March 29th, 2010
9:54 am


As someone who remembers JB Stoner and the atrocious policies he advocated for, there’s nothing amusing or appropriate about posting under that name.

GA Teach

March 29th, 2010
10:06 am

We do not want our state to win.

[...] In Race to the Top horserace, national school choice group deems Georgia a … Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) – Mar 28th – 21:11 [...]

love it

March 29th, 2010
10:35 am

the same GA government that hates the healthcare law is tripping over itself to get this RTTT. No one in government seems to have a true backbone; except the liberal dems. If our REPUBLICAN governor and others in leadership in GA would simply stand up and say we dont like the RTTT and NCLB. We will build an education system that will prepare the student for a career and/or college. (read two tracks to graduation) What has happened to the true leaders and common sense of a nation? AJC needs a public service annoucement on how to enter ones name in an election.


March 29th, 2010
11:00 am

@love it: Our Republican government is too busy wasting tax money, time and effort in the only goal they have right now…derailing the President…to know, care or to do anything about, what the people want or need.


March 29th, 2010
11:18 am

Both the healthcare system and the education must be improved, but it can only occur locally, one community at a time. The Federal government is incapable of running anything efficiently or successfully. The Military complex and War industry is the only function the federal government can or should manage but not efficiently.

Healthcare and education decisions belong to the local citizens. The money we are competing for already belongs to us – the taxpayers of Georgia. Obama, Duncan, or the governor cannot teach my child or make a difference by their topdown mandates. Billions will be wasted and politicized for nothing.


March 29th, 2010
11:46 am

@JackTeach: Not much of anything I’ve seen on a local government level has been anything to be proud of, either! We have nothing and are going nowhere. The status quo sure as heck isn’t teaching my kids much…any OTHER ideas?

An advocate for public education change & choice

March 29th, 2010
12:04 pm

@Jack Teach & @ Philospher: I would add that the electorate probably pays even less attention to the policy descision made by local government than they do for what’s going on at the federal or state level.

Philosopher’s point is well taken. Where is the real debate? Where are the real progressive thinkers on either side of the poltical aisle who are prepared to put forth real solutions to real problems?

Purhaps if running for office was more civic duty and less a career path we would see different results.

Race To The Top Winners | VsCon

March 29th, 2010
5:17 pm