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PA not first round RttT winner

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Education Week and the Associated Pressare reporting that Pennsylvania is not among the winners in the first round of the Race to the Top competition. Only two states will get the funds: Tennessee and Delaware. More to come.

Pennsylvania came in seventh with a score of 420. You can find PA’s application, scores, and reviewers’ comments and notes on the Department of Education’s site. The Ed Week Politics K-12 twitter feed has more updates.

UPDATE: Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak was upbeat about the state’s prospects in the next round, what is called Phase 2, of the competitive process, describing the state’s initial application as a “great collaboration” involving “partnerships of many of the leaders across the state at every level.”

“Most of the funds are still available,” he noted. After the awards to Tennessee and Delaware, there should still be $3.7 billion remaining.

The state will be getting feedback on its proposal and submitting a new application for a June 1 deadline. All the states, not just the finalists can apply, and Zahorchak said he anticipates “tough competition.” Awards from the second round are expected in September.

Zahorchak noted that one of the strengths of the state’s first round application was that “we had three signatures – the superintendent, the school board, and the union” – from participating school districts.

However, Pennsylvania only had participation from a quarter of its school districts in the application. The two winning states both had 100 percent participation from school districts.

The state’s request in the first round was for $400 million, which Zahorchak characterized as a “conservative” request.

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