NJ Star-Ledger: Hawaii submitted error in first-round of Race to the Top application
TRENTON — New Jersey was not the only state to make an error on its application for the Race to the Top competition. Hawaii omitted a response to an entire section of the application it wrote for the competition’s first round, a mistake that cost it 25 points.
After submitting a complete, error-free application for Race to the Top’s second round of the competition, Hawaii finished in third place with a score of 462.4 and won $75,000,000 to enact its proposed education reforms.
The small island state noticed its error and contacted the U.S. Department of Education in hopes of providing an answer for the missing section, but Hawaii Department of Education Communications Director Sandra Goya said she was told the competition does not allow revisions.
“It was a technical glitch in a 900-plus page application,” Goya said. “The competition had strict deadlines, and it would not have been fair to make changes.”
In a conference call with reporters today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan confirmed that second-round winner Hawaii submitted an incomplete application in the first round, but that in spite of the error, he saw “real potential” in the state’s proposals.
"They didn't have a chance to put their best foot forward," Duncan said.
FULL TEXT: DoE Flunks test in Phase One
Application PDF (1.08M)
Appendix PDF (137M)
Score sheet PDF (43.6K)
Reviewers' comments and scores PDF (3.65M)
Huffington Post: Race to the Top's Biggest Losers
The only real surprise in the announcement of round-two finalists was that Arizona, California and Hawaii had made the cut. (They had fared poorly enough in round one - all finishing outside the top 20 -- that it seemed they had little chance in round two. But Arizona woke up from the dead, and California -- perhaps because of extra encouragement from Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- didn't give up despite its failure to secure teacher-union support.)
Now the biggest surprise isn't just that Hawaii won, securing for itself $75 million, but that it finished a very respectable third overall. In round one, Hawaii finished a distant 22nd, its application garnering only 364.6 points out of 500. Its second-round application was given 462.4 points, which was the biggest improvement by far of any winning state.
Secretary Duncan said Hawaii's extraordinary jump was a result of the fact that its first-round application was incomplete, so its low score didn't reflect its true potential. In her May 27th cover letter to Secretary Duncan, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle pointed out that "Hawaii is in a unique position to demonstrate that the reforms embodied in ARRA and the education agenda of President Obama's Administration can be implemented statewide" because the Aloha State is alone among its peers in having a single state-wide school district. Whether this argument helped sway Duncan or Race to the Top reviewers is difficult to know, but it was one of many new aspects to Hawaii's round-two application.
A few other thoughts on Hawaii: its second-round application was nearly twice as long as its first-round application, and it's the only state west of the Mississippi River to have won. A number of reporters who asked questions of Duncan on Aug. 24th noted that the winners tended to be "urban" states -- and, with the exceptions of Hawaii and Ohio, located on the Eastern seaboard. Duncan replied by saying that "geography was irrelevant" in the judging process.
US Department of Education:
FULL TEXT: Hawaii DoE’s successful second round RTTT application
Application PDF (1.46M)
Appendix PDF (96.2M)
Score sheet PDF (113KB)
Reviewers' comments and scores PDF (5.31M)