South Carolina education officials received some disappointing news Tuesday. The state has for a second time lost in its competition for many millions of dollars in federal education grant money. The U.S. Department of Education says that nine states and the District of Columbia will be awarded grant funds for specific education programs in the second round of competition where $4.35 billion was on the table. South Carolina stood to gain approximately $175 million this time.
South Carolina doesn’t have education unions. But state Education Superintendent Jim Rex says he doesn’t believe that lessened the state’s chances. Rex talks with reporter William Christopher about unions, as well as whether national politics played a roll in the loss.
Rex says the state was among the 19 finalists out of a total of 35 and was ranked in 14th place in the end. Georgia and North Carolina were among the 10 winners. South Carolina came in sixth place in the first round of the Race to the Top contest, which was won by Tennessee and Delaware.
Rex says he and other officials who worked hard on the application were surprised by the outcome.
A lot of third-party observers were picking in advance who they thought would be winners and South Carolina was almost unanimously in those groupings when people were looking at the applicants so we really did feel like we had a good chance this time to be chosen.