January 20, 2010
New Yorkers who want to see details of the state’s Race to the Top plan that officials hope will win them a $700 million grant will have to wait for three more months.
Half of the states that submitted applications yesterday have posted their applications online, but New York State isn’t among them. That’s because the state plans to keep the application’s contents under wraps until the federal government announces the competition’s first round of winners and losers in April.
“If New York does not win a Phase 1 award, we will in all likelihood apply in Phase 2. Therefore, the release of New York’s application at this time could compromise the State’s ability to compete in the next round,” said Tom Dunn, a spokesman for the State Education Department.
But a U.S. Department of Education spokesman, Justin Hamilton, said the department plans to post all of the first-round applications in April, whether or not they’re successful. That’s two months before the competition’s second-round deadline in June.
And Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch has said she thinks it is important for the public to understand that the plan, which she called “eloquent and articulate,” is about more than charter schools.
“I want to talk about what’s in this application,” she told me yesterday. “I want people to understand how broad it is.”
“I think [NYSED has] articulated a bold strong application, and when people in this state understand how good it is…they will be infuriated that this opportunity is slipping through their hands,” she added.
But without the complete application, New Yorkers will have to rely on education officials’ public statements on the application and an 18-page summary that the department has posted to its website. Notes from Regents meetings over the past several months also give clues to what may be included in the application but give no guarantee.
Here’s Dunn’s full statement:
The US Department of Education has said that it plans to post all state applications and final scores on its website at the conclusion of each phase of the Race to the Top competition. Because RTTT grants will be awarded in a two-phase process, a state that does not win a Phase 1 grant is entitled to reapply in Phase 2. If New York does not win a Phase 1 award, we will in all likelihood apply in Phase 2. Therefore, the release of New York’s application at this time could compromise the State’s ability to compete in the next round.