No one should be shocked that the “peer-review” process for Race to the Top is distorted by political considerations, especially since we at JPGB (among others) have been warning about it for months. But it is nice to see someone actually document the existence and magnitude of the distortion.
One of my students at the University of Arkansas, Dan Bowen, conducted an analysis that was featured in AEI’s Education Stimulus Watch. It predicted each state’s RTTT “peer-review” score based on independent ratings of state reform efforts by Education Week’s Quality Counts and others. It then also considered whether political considerations were systematically related to a state doing significantly better or worse in the “peer-review” process than would be predicted by those independent ratings. Dan found that states with hotly contested Senate or gubernatorial contests received significantly higher scores: