The U.S. Department of Education announced the finalists for federal Race to the Top dollars today, and New York State made the cut.
No one should get too excited yet about spending any of that $700 million pile of loot, though. New York is only one of 17 states and the District of Columbia to make it to this round, and there’s no money for just being a finalist. Last time this was done, New York made it to the final 16 without advancing.
Yet much has happened politically since the last round to raise hopes. The state passed legislation allowing the charter school cap to increase from 200 to 460, a move expected to sit well with Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Many of the state’s teacher unions got behind the efforts this time around, some even embracing performance-based pay.
Only winners will get any actual money. The last time, funds were awarded to Tennessee and Delaware.