Who Won the Race to the Top Poll—and Why

For the past several weeks, we have asked readers to vote as to which of the finalists should win the Race to the Top.  Nearly 400 of you took the time to cast your vote, and, on the basis of your vote, I am willing to predict that the Duncan Administration is going to hand out awards to well over a majority of the contestants.  No three or four states have come up with ideas so powerful the rest have been lost in the dust.

At least that is what your votes tell me.  With one exception discussed below, no state received more than 6 percent of the votes cast, and every state received at least some support.  Those gathering in 5 percent or more of the vote included, in order of votes cast, Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida and the District of Columbia. Massachusetts came next. None of the rest won more than 4 percent of the vote.

When votes are spread that thinly, it is anyone’s guess as to which way the wind is blowing.  The Obama Administration is well positioned to decide the result in the way it deems best.

Except for Rhode Island, which captured more than 41 percent of the vote.  Wow!  How did that happen?  Is the little state with the not-so-good schools really off-the-charts better than any one else?

Or does the result show, perhaps, the power of social networking.  According to a detective on our staff, the Rhode Island Secretary of Education invited her friends on her Facebook page to participate in the poll.  Apparently, she has a lot of very good friends.

So, congratulations to Rhode Island—and to Facebook.

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