With a month left before the application deadline for the second round of the $3.4 billion Race to the Top grant competition, state leaders are torn between trying to implement bold reform ideas and obtaining support from teachers unions. The winners of the first round of the competition, Delaware and Tennessee, achieved, respectively, 100 percent and 93 percent of union support. But teachers unions in other states aren't as supportive. Indiana's top education official, Tony Bennett, announced that his state would not participate in the second round because of a lack of union support. Colorado and Louisiana are struggling to get union support for teacher-evaluation bills pending in their legislatures.
As states prepare their Race to the Top applications, what is more important: Obtaining union buy-in or implementing bold reform ideas?