President Obama will offer struggling states a carrot and a stick today, as he unveils draft guidelines for a new $4.35 billion education initiative designed to push charter schools, linking teacher pay to performance, and adopting common academic standards. The Race for the Top program, part of the stimulus package, will award grants to states that meet these goals, and shut out those that don't, the Washington Post reports.
The cash isn't a big share of the $100 billion provided for schools in the stimulus package, but the fund dwarfs the amount education secretaries before Arne Duncan had to spend on their own priorities. "I am unbelievably hopeful about the level of change we can drive and the amount of reform we're going to see," says Duncan. Teachers' unions say they have concerns about some of the proposals, but they will reserve judgment until the final details emerge.