Wisconsin lost its bid for $250 million in federal education reform grant money Tuesday, as 18 other states and Washington, D.C., were named finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top competition.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the finalists for $3.4 billion in funding during a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Those finalists were Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.
This was Wisconsin’s final chance to win a piece of the $4.35 billion education reform competition, unless a proposed third round of $1.35 billion in 2011 is approved.
Gov. Jim Doyle criticized the federal government’s system for reviewing state applications, while several outside groups criticized Wisconsin for passing weak reform efforts or failing to show it could dramatically change the course of the troubled Milwaukee Public Schools.
“With the blind judging system used by the federal government, it’s hard to know how the applications were scored, but it’s pretty clear that the quality of a state’s education system was not taken into account,” Doyle said in a statement. “The states in the upper Midwest – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan – are nationally recognized as having the best education systems in the country, and not a single one was a finalist in either round for Race to the Top funding,” he said.