Arizona was the bridesmaid, not the bride, in the national competition for the Race to the Top federal education grant to boost student achievement and aid struggling schools, very similar to the current focus of the Maricopa Unified School District.
Race to the Top is a $3.4 billion U. S. Department of Education program designed to spur reforms in state and local K-12 districts. Funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it first debuted on July 24, 2009 when President Barck Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the competition.
Arizona was one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to be named last month as a finalist in the competition’s second round. The state’s grant application was revised after its initial submission, but that wasn’t enough to win what would have been a $250 million award handed out by the feds over a four-year period.
Arizona is not among the winners announced today for the Race to the Top grant, the largest federal education grant ever awarded.
Other than Hawaii, in fact, no state west of Ohio has won any of the roughly $3.4 billion in grants to be handed out over four years. Cash-strapped Arizona lost out on what would have been a $250 million award.
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia were the ten winners. Winners of the first round, Delaware and Tennessee, were announced in March. Other than Hawaii, none of the winners were from the central or western states.