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After First-Round Defeat, Mass. Reconsiders 'Race' Re-Application

With the June 1 deadline fast approaching, the Massachusetts Department of Education is questioning whether the state will re-apply for federal "Race to the Top" education grants.

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester says Massachusetts may not re-submit its application for the federal money — which could total up to $250 million — because the state might not be in a good position to win.

"We are full speed ahead working toward a submission," Chester said, "but we are doing a calculus as to whether or not the competition is stacked against Massachusetts or whether or not it’s a level playing field."

Chester says it's "maddening" that in the first round of the grant competition the state lost points because it wouldn’t commit to national standards before they're available for review. Massachusetts is nationally recognized for having high standards.

Chester also notes it will be difficult for the state to win federal money when its second-largest teachers union has pulled out of the application process.

In late March, after Delaware and Tennessee were granted the first round of "Race" grants, Patrick administration and education officials indicated that the state would study the winning applications and seek to make changes in advance of the second round's filing.

This program aired on May 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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