Obama's 'Race to the Top' Winners Announced

The winners of the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” competition for innovative school reform have been announced. Nine states—Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island—plus Washington, D.C., will share $3.4 billion in grants from the Department of Education. (Tennessee and Delaware won the first part of the competition in March, and shared $600 million.) The contest spurred school reform around the country as cash-strapped school systems hoped to win the award. But teachers’ unions and civil-rights groups have criticized the program, saying the first winners covered only 3 percent of America’s black students and 1 percent of Latino students, and that the reforms put unfairly high standards on the performance of teachers. The White House counters that minority students, disproportionately in poor performing schools, have the most to gain from the program, and it’s trying to create a culture of accountability in the classroom.