The Very Expensive Mandates of Race to the Top The states unlucky enough to “win” Race to the Top funding are arriving at a startling conclusion: Race to the Top mandates cost more than the money that was awarded to the state and the districts. Ken Mitchell, a superintendent in Rockland County, New York, did the math. Mitchell determined that school districts in his county are spending far more than they receive as they try to implement the mandates. When you consider that Governor Cuomo enacted rigid tax caps on every public school district in the state, it means that costs (for Race to the Top) are soaring at the same time that the district cannot raise new sources of revenue. The result: layoffs, program cuts, larger class sizes. Mitchell writes that in six districts in his county, the cost of RTTT implementation will be $11 million, but the revenues will be only $400,000. This is a deficit of more than $10 million that must be covered by district funds. Where will the money come from? When you consider that there is no research base to support the initiatives demanded by the Race to the Top, this is, as he puts it, “a grand and costly experiment that has the potential to take public education in the wrong direction…” That is putting it politely. The word is getting out. Race to the Top has no research base. Race to the Top is a burden on the states that “won” the money. It will be a burden on the districts that have the misfortune to “win” funding. The United Teachers of Los Angeles were wise to refuse to sign on to their district’s application. If they won, the district would soon by laying off teachers to pay for consultants and experimental programs of no value. Race to the Top makes guinea pigs of the nation’s public schools and their pupils. I will vote for Obama despite this terrible program.