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Competitive Grants and Educational Federalism: President Obama's Race to the Top Program in Theory and Practice

  • Paul Manna
  • Laura L. Ryan
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    We use the Obama administration's Race to the Top (RTTT) program to address two questions about competitive grants. First, what does RTTT and its competitive approach reveal about the current state of educational federalism? Second, and more generally, how do large federal grant programs operate when state governments compete for funds? Our analysis indicates that although RTTT has expanded federal involvement in state education policy, its success still depends crucially on subnational implementation. We also note the important role of state capacity in predicting states' abilities to apply to and perform well in the RTTT competition. We conclude by suggesting implications for educational federalism during the coming years and offering more general insights about the operation of competitive federal grants to states. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

    Volume (Year): 41 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
    Pages: 522-546

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:publus:v:41:y:2011:i:3:p:522-546
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