We won! Now what?

UPDATE Tuesday at 10:45

The U.S. Education Department says at least four states will receive money in the second round of the $4.35 billion “Race to the Top” school reform grant competition.

The other winning states are: District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island

We find out today if Georgia won a Race to the Top grant. We are among 19 finalists and made our case a few weeks ago to a review panel in DC.

Given our third place ranking in the first round, I would be surprised if we don’t win one of the education improvement grants. Ed Secretary Arne Duncan is supposed to announce the winners at 1, but news always seeps out earlier so expect word around 11. Georgia is hoping for $200 million or more.

I exchanged e-mails with the governor’s spokesman who says they have not received any heads-up but are hopeful.

If we win  and we elect a governor and state school chief in November who are leery of federal involvement in education, 2011 is going to turn out to be an interesting year for all of us.

79 comments Add your comment

[...] See the original post: Georgia finds out tomorrow if we won Race to the Top: Any predictions besides mine? I … &#8211… [...]

Mikey D

August 23rd, 2010
8:44 pm

Why in the world our governor has actively and gleefully campaigned to bring federal intrusion and control into our state’s education system is beyond me.

V for Vendetta

August 23rd, 2010
8:50 pm

Because Repubucrats and Dempublicans are interchangeable. Behind the empty rhetoric, they both want the same thing: more government control; less individual freedom. As long as (ignorant) people keep voting along party lines without giving any thought to who they’re actually voting for, expect more of the same.


August 23rd, 2010
9:00 pm

Oh, yeah. We’ll get either Recycled Roy or Crooked Deal as our next governor, we’ve already got NCLB, and now we’ll have to put up with RT3 as well.


August 23rd, 2010
9:21 pm

@Maureen – I really hope you’re wrong on this one.

Maureen Downey

August 23rd, 2010
9:24 pm

@d, I could be. One rumor making the rounds is that there are 10 winners out of 19. It is true that Georgia had one extremely besotted juror in the first round who gave us far more points in one of the “pillar” areas than the other judges. That generous helping of points pushed us ahead. We may not have that again this time.


August 23rd, 2010
9:24 pm

The GA Republicans graveling to the Washington dems.

Spineless :)

Maureen Downey

August 23rd, 2010
9:25 pm

@Ray, As Gov. Perdue told us at our meeting last week, “I love them on education. I hate them on health care.” He feels that he and the Obama White House are very aligned on education goals and policies.


August 23rd, 2010
9:42 pm

@Maureen We were supposed to lose several points because the “Union or Professional Association” did not sign off. I know Gov. Perdue said as a right-to-work state he felt he did not need the buy-in of GAE or PAGE. GAE did send a letter to the Department of Education opposing our application – not because there aren’t good things in the application, but there are several negative things in the application. The one that scares me the most is the alternative route to principalship…. If we “win” this grant, having a bachelor’s degree and management experience is sufficient to become a principal in a Georgia public school. I’m not thrilled about prospect of merit pay based on student test scores. This is taking the power away from the teacher – no matter how the proponents want to put it – and puts it squarely in the hands of the students. I understand that despite the proposal that would allow teachers currently employeed to opt into the system, Alvin Wilbanks has indicated that Gwinnett teachers will not allow teachers to stay in the current salary scale if we win.

Don’t get me wrong, if this money was going into classrooms, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but how can $400 million split between the state and 26 districts over a 4-year period actually do any good in Georgia classroom? We can’t fill in budget holes – we’re going to just increase the bureaucracy, and believe me, working in DeKalb, I’ve seen enough bureaucracy to last a lifetime.


August 23rd, 2010
9:43 pm

I hope not. More money = more control over what we are doing.

Color me confused

August 23rd, 2010
9:49 pm


We have an election in a few months that will give us a new Governor and a new state superintendent of education. One of the largest systems to sign on has their superintendent under indictment. I just can’t see how the feds would think this was a good idea.


August 23rd, 2010
9:59 pm

The merit pay idea really worries me. I have a class full of socially promoted 9th graders (did not pass the 8th grade CRCT but were passed to 9th grade anyway.)

Problem #1 is that they don’t seem to be working at grade level, and problem #2 is that they apparently think that (like the middle school) I will promote them whether they do anything in my class or not.

Hey, I’m working really hard, but so far they’ve learned that they will be promoted whether they work or not. They’re about to learn a “life lesson”, but is it going to affect my paycheck when they do?

Maureen Downey

August 23rd, 2010
10:05 pm

@Color me Confused, I asked Erin Hames that same question – she is the governor’s policy director but is now moving to the DOE to oversee federal programs including RTTT, if we win.
She said other states also have stuff going on, so she did not see our situation as out of the ordinary.
Here is the DOE release on Erin’s new job:

- State School Superintendent Brad Bryant announced today
that Erin Hames has been appointed as the Georgia Department of
Education’s (GaDOE) Chief of Staff, effective August 26. In this role,
she will lead GaDOE projects and initiatives, including Race to the Top,
and ensure that the GaDOE team is focusing on the work that has the most
positive impact on student achievement. Hames currently serves on the
staff of Governor Sonny Perdue as Policy Director and previously served as
his Education Policy Advisor. She will assume the role formerly held by
Stephen Pruitt, who recently left to work in Washington, D.C.

“Erin’s background and experience has given her a keen awareness of the
education landscape in Georgia, and I am excited to welcome her to our
team,” said Superintendent Bryant. “She has worked extensively with the
legislature, as well as state and national education partners, building
relationships that will further enable the GaDOE’s work.”

?Erin?s experience as a classroom teacher, combined with her legal
training, knowledge of education policy issues and management skills,
makes her a perfect fit for this role,” said Governor Perdue. “I am
especially pleased that Superintendent Bryant and the State Board of
Education recognized Erin?s talents and asked her to join the team at

After graduating from the University of Georgia’s College of Education,
Erin taught at Wakefield Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina for
three years. There she was named “First Year Teacher of the Year” and
served on the School Improvement Team. Upon leaving North Carolina, Erin
returned to her home state where she enrolled in law school at Georgia
State University. She graduated with honors in May 2008. While in law
school Erin worked in Governor Perdue’s office as Legal Fellow and
Education Policy Analyst. After graduating from law school, she began
serving as Governor Perdue’s Education Policy Advisor, advancing the
Governor’s legislative and policy agenda on all education-related issues
from preschool to higher education. She currently serves as his Policy
Director and continues to advise him on education issues. Erin and her
husband, Ben, reside in Atlanta.

Mikey D

August 23rd, 2010
10:11 pm

Will Erin Hames continue to serve in this position after the election? Or will the new governor and superintendent be able to appoint someone new?
I can’t imagine that any judges for this grant could look at the situation that sonny has put us in and decide it’s a good idea to give him money. Especially when the entire state regime is getting ready to change and no one is sure who will win and what their level of support for race-to-the-bottom will be.


August 23rd, 2010
10:14 pm

She taught 3 years and she is an expert??? Let’s hire a policy adviser or chief of staff with more years of experience and preferably in Georgia.


August 23rd, 2010
10:14 pm

ScienceTeacher671 – I tell my students first day (since they’re all seniors) that if they don’t pass me, they don’t walk in May. It is a good motivation for the students.

Doesn't add up

August 23rd, 2010
10:19 pm

I thought there was a hiring freeze? How can there possibly be a new job?

Cheryl Matthews

August 23rd, 2010
10:27 pm

Yes, with all of the cheating going on in Georgia on the CRCT and other tests. I am sure Governor Perdue doesn’t think student achievment can the attached to MERIT Pay in Georgia. Maybe somewhere else but not Georgia….Not Now!


August 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

@rosie. Amen! 3 years does not an experienced teacher make. (Usually means the person didn’t have the heart for teaching and moved on.)

Toto: exposing the man behind the curtain

August 23rd, 2010
11:36 pm

Georgia giving up her state’s rights for a measly $200 million???? You can’t even build a decent K-12 school for that amount. RTTT will further enslave the teachers.

Why Maureen supports it

August 23rd, 2010
11:52 pm

Maureen supports this because she doesn’t have to pay the price for the legislation; teachers do. Wonder how Maureen would like her pay being based on the comments of this blog, and being told if she did a better job writing it, she’d have better comments?

Eraser Man

August 24th, 2010
12:07 am

Erin Hames??? Give me a break! She could not advise or manage her way out of a paper bag….self-promoting blow hard…..just like all of Sonny’s advisors….fresh off the kindergarten nap mat.


August 24th, 2010
12:13 am

The whole bunch of Perdue advisors and staff are idiots. They are already starting to jump off the sinking ship (now that Sonny’s girl Karen is out) to other jobs – jobs for which they are not qualified just like they were never qualified to be advisiors.

To Mikey D….you need not worry about Erin Hames and most of the Sonny-ites being anywhere close to in charge in November. Between, Deal or Barnes or a new State School Superintendent in Joe Martin….all these people playing with government will be tossed out on their butts.

[...] is the original post:  Georgia finds out tomorrow if we won Race to the Top: Any … By admin | category: University of GEORGIA | tags: ajc, college, demarcus-dobbs, [...]


August 24th, 2010
5:57 am

d, I tell mine the first day (and all through the semester) that it’s not middle school, there’s no committee to promote them, and if they don’t pass my class they’ll take it again (and again and again if necessary.) They aren’t seniors, graduation seems forever away, and some of them just don’t believe it until they get that final report card.

Cindy Lutenbacher

August 24th, 2010
6:18 am

I’m an old woman of the south, and I don’t care for “state’s rights” because in the south that phrase has long meant the “right” to discriminate against Black people.
But I do think that we’re insane if we believe that the few millions of RTTT funding will cover what that wretched program will require of us. If we “win” RTTT, our teachers, our schools, and, most important of all, our children LOSE.
RTTT is a nightmare for our kids.

God Bless the Teacher!

August 24th, 2010
6:20 am

RTTT – Race To The Torture!

Nothing We Can Do

August 24th, 2010
6:37 am

Really doesn’t mean much to most teachers.


August 24th, 2010
7:09 am

We won’t be”bringing it home” at any rate. It will go into consultants, etc. It will merely make our lives harder.

I cannot have much respect in terms of educational leadership for someone with 3 years of experience, no matter if they have a law degree or anything else. Sorry. I am betting she presents well.

How much of a salary jump would she get than her predecessor?

The birds of prey are circling.

Henry County Mom

August 24th, 2010
7:16 am

Race to the Bottom and take the Cox math with you. How do you measure if someone is an expert in ebonics? Like saying I’m an expert in redneck.

Hey Teacher

August 24th, 2010
7:24 am

Catlady — I was thinking the same thing. 3 years of teaching? Really? I have shoes with more teaching experience than she has.


August 24th, 2010
8:05 am

He should have looked for someone with credentials in educational policy analysis at different levels (I have that, plus over three decades of teaching experience, nursery school to college. Lots of experience writing for publication and presenting at national conferences, too. He doesn’t need me, but someone with a lot more credentials and experience than what he is getting, to have any credence.)


August 24th, 2010
8:06 am

The birds of prey are circling over the RTTT money already, planning how to “use” it.


August 24th, 2010
8:19 am

Somehow, the money will be squandered. Folks, this money is yours and mine and our gchildren and our ggchildrens, etc……do we really want it just flushed?

Really? Seriously?

August 24th, 2010
8:45 am

We are building $578 million schools, and we think we have the fiscal discipline necessary to spend RTTT billions wisely?

That’s almost as funny as someone thinking RTTT would improve the long term quality of education in Georgia.

bootney farnsworth

August 24th, 2010
8:46 am

please list the government sponsored programs that actually work as intended.


August 24th, 2010
9:02 am

The only qualifications that matter is being FOPs (Friends of Perdue). FLOPS would be a better suited acronym. Seriously, Perdue’s cronyism has wrecked the state at every level.


August 24th, 2010
9:02 am

More money wasted. Ayetollah Obama is also a JackASS.


August 24th, 2010
9:03 am

A good chunk of the RttT money will go toward funding salaries for folks like Hanes (3 years in a classroom does not an expert make). Very little will filter down to the classroom level. In other words, I won’t be seeing any money to replace the microscope that broke yesterday or to purchase the chemicals I need for a chemistry lab.

Really? Seriously?

August 24th, 2010
9:07 am

Will Maureen lay out a case on how this money will have a direct, tangible, positive effect on day to day life in the classroom?


August 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Georgia is already at the bottom people! What is wrong with you? You don’t want to improve. Tennessee won and they are figuring it out. What is wrong with Georgia? Oh, stupidity!


August 24th, 2010
9:18 am

There aren’t any state programs or local programs that work as they should; so you can’t eliminate those from your list.

Lt Col

August 24th, 2010
9:57 am

If “winning” means more Federal (deficit) spending, more government control, and less individual freedoms? I don’t see how that is “winning”.

Chief Wiggum

August 24th, 2010
9:58 am

This money isn’t magic money from heaven, it’s taxpayer money we already gave up. One of the ideas of not being so heavily taxed at the federal level is to avoid having to send so much money to Washington D.C., then having to beg to get it back. I think a lot of folks would be willing to trade off, pay less at the federal level, and more at a local or state level, so that this money could be far more “direct”, in ways that the public has more say in how it’s spent.

So, even if we do get these hundreds of millions of dollars, remember it came out of your wallet, was sent to Washington, where a middle man kept part of it, and then made us beg to have some of it sent back to Georgia.

come on now

August 24th, 2010
10:05 am

look what Margret Spellings did for our National education. Cronies should not be anywhere near education. Poliitical appointments in education since the 1990s to today and including what NCLB has done; have wrecked our education system and it has went into freefall.

Really, these are the same ppl that brought us GA’s “new math”

Oliver Davis

August 24th, 2010
10:07 am

I predict New York will get it.


August 24th, 2010
10:19 am

I don’t think anyone is claiming that 3 years makes anyone an expert teacher. Erin Hames’ experience as a teacher (and awarded Teacher of the Year) combined with her legal education, make her perfect for the job. If the state educational system can prove anything right now, it’s that decades of experience and credentials get you nothing. Some of the worst employees are the ones with the most on their resume. Just be sure to tell Ms. Hames congratulations when she gets this state, desperately in need, some help.


August 24th, 2010
10:19 am

Jan, you are so right! The ignorance of people’s comments on this issue proves that we desperately need the money to help improve education in this state, which is at or near the bottom on every measure of educational achievement.

School Counselor

August 24th, 2010
10:25 am

Isn’t it interesting, that most of the states that have already won this money endorse National Board Certification for Teachers. Georgia has been very disrepectful to NBCT teachers, but wants to win money that represents the very goals and rigor of this certification. Ignorant politicians need to be replaced.

Teacher through and through

August 24th, 2010
10:30 am

@lynn–The ignorance that is so distressing in these comments is the ignorance of those who have never spent time in the classroom since the implementation of NCLB and its rampant testing. Listen to catlady and Science Teacher671. They speak the truth: this money will not get to the classroom level. It will be spent implementing mandates that put even more demands on teachers without providing any additional time. It will do nothing to change the daily lives of the students but it will provide for even more bureaucrats and consultants.