Race to the Top

NYC Pasta Dinner

On August 24, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that nine states and the District of Columbia had won grants in Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition. Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia will be awarded significant funding that will directly impact 13.6 million students and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.

From a business perspective, if you have relationships with schools in those states, this is great news. However, if you haven’t been working with these states over the past six months, it’s going to be challenging to get in there now. Your best approach would be to find vendors who have already those relationships and see if your solution might fit in as a value-add. However, it is also worth noting that Secretary Duncan has stated the Department of Education is “hopeful there will be a Phase 3 of Race to the Top and have requested $1.35 billion in next year’s budget. In the meantime, we will partner with every state that applied (46), to help them find ways to carry out the bold reforms they’ve proposed in their applications.” For more information, visit here.

Higher Education and the Economy Last month, (August 9th) President Obama delivered a major speech on higher education at the University of Texas at Austin, in which he addressed the connection between higher education and economic growth. “If we’re serious about making sure America’s workers — and America itself — succeeds in the 21st century, the single most important step we can take is make sure that every one of our young people has the best education that the world has to offer,” said the President. “Education . . .is an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for folks who have gone to college. It is an economic issue when almost eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or higher education by the end of this decade. And it is an economic issue when we know, beyond shadow of a doubt, that countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow . . . But I want everybody here to remember,” the President concluded, “at each and every juncture throughout our history, we’ve always recognized that essential truth: that the way to move forward, in our own lives and as a nation, is to put education first.” Further information on the speech can be found here.