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Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Comments on the Race to the Top Winners

Press Release:

Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Comments on the Race to the Top Winners

Washington, DC – In response to Secretary Duncan’s announcement of Delaware and Tennessee as the winners in phase one of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTT) competition, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:

“Naming only two states as RTT winners guarantees many more states keep running even harder to win the second phase later this year, but if the Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year, the all-out race for sweeping school improvement may revert to a slow walk.

“Whether a conscious decision or not, naming two states provides two positive models while giving many other states a chance to improve their applications even more.

“I congratulate Delaware and Tennessee for their commitments to education reform and willingness to challenge the status quo of an American education system that sees more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year.

“Many states, including today’s winners and losers, have made major investments of time, energy, and political capital to qualify for a portion of the $4.35 billion in RTT funds. However, the sustainability of their efforts will depend on whether the Congress acts affirmatively to continue the stimulus package’s RTT initiatives though an ESEA reauthorization. Without positive congressional action, RTT and the other initiatives designed to spur change-such as the Investing in Innovation Fund (I3)-simply become one-time contests when their funding expires later this year.”

In Don’t Leave Accountability Behind: A Call for ESEA Reauthorization, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind credit Congress and the Obama administration for encouraging states to advance important education priorities by linking the stimulus dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to reform. At the same time, however, the report argues that ARRA’s one-time funding will run out later this year and cannot address long-term needs because current law does not continue it.

Secretary Duncan’s announcement of the RTT phase one winners is available at

For additional thoughts from Gov. Wise on the Race to the Top competition, read his March 9 commentary, “What Race to the Top Could Learn from Youth Soccer Leagues” here


The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit

Categories: Race to the Top

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