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Race to nowhere

The announcement of the federal Race to the Top winners this week has sparked a marathon of post-mortems about why the results turned out the way they did, particularly for Colorado’s losing bid.

Education News Colorado has done a full analysis with charts of how the state scored, including comparisons with other states, a look at how the scoring compared on the state’s round one and round two applications and a detailed chart of how each of the five reviewers ranked Colorado. It’s the most complete analysis you’ll find.

Some EdNews bloggers also have taken detailed takes on what happened. Robert Reichardt, a University of Colorado-Denver researcher who was closely involved in the R2T process, thinks the bid was doomed because of inherent bias in the process. Alex Medler, a charter school advocate who’s done time as a federal education staffer, offers some insight into how these kinds of competitions are judged.

The end-of-the-week speculation centered on whether Colorado hurt itself by not including the full text of Senate Bill 10-191 in its application. (That's the new law that sets in motion new and more rigorous principal and teacher evaluation systems.) As someone who reads the legalistic language of education bills for a living, I’m not sure that would have made much of a difference. Colorado provided reasonably readable and detailed summaries of the legislation in the appendix to its application.

Perhaps the most important fact about SB 10-191 is not its language but its timetable. It won’t fully go into effect for five years, after review - and possible changes - by the state's educator effectiveness council, the state Board of Education and the legislature (here's a detailed breakdown of the law and its timetables).


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