The Department of Education already announced its sweet sixteen—way before the brackets even came out. The 16 finalists in the Race to the Top competition are just warming up. They’ll be called to Washington, D.C. for game day, when they'll present their proposals, which will determine whether or not they advance to the next phase.
Secretary Arne Duncan admits that it will be tough for these states: "We are setting a high bar and we anticipate very few winners in phase 1. But this isn't just about the money. It's about collaboration among all stakeholders, building a shared agenda, and challenging ourselves to improve the way our students learn. I feel that every state that has applied is a winner—and the biggest winners of all are the students.”
All across the country, big changes are coming to school districts, pushed by economic realities and a growing reform momentum. Education Week reports that Kansas City is “right-sizing” schools (read, closing about a third of them). In Cleveland, a transformation plan could also lead to more school closings, along with, reorganizing the central office and re-writing the plan for their high schools, molding them more into small academy institutions.
Any big changes coming down the pike in your district to qualify for Race to the Top or just to face budget realities? Do you have your March Madness brackets filled with possible reforms?