The Gates Conspiracy



By 03/04/2010

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A perceptive reader pointed this out to me. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation originally provided 15 states with $250,000 planning grants to help them prepare their Race to the Top applications. After a firestorm of controversy, Gates made similar grants available to the other states. But note this:

Original Gates States:

Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

Round I finalists:

Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Overlap:

Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee

(12 10 out of 16)*

That’s an awfully strong correlation. The question is why. Did the early planning grants give these states an  unfair advantage? Was the Administration trying to tow the line with Gates? Or, more likely, did Gates place its bets on likely winners from the start? I’d be curious to know what others think.

*CORRECTION (March 5 at 9:17 am): I must have a counting disability because obviously Colorado and Delaware were not on the original Gates list. So that means 10 of 16 were original Gates states. Our put another way, out of the Gates 15, 10 won grants and 1 (Texas) decided not to apply. Just Arkansas, Arizona, Minnesota, and New Mexico missed the cut.

[Please see the blog entries here and here and here and here and here and here for more discussion of the Race to the Top finalists.]




Comment on this article
  • Raymond Johnson says:

    Your hypotheses are perfectly valid, but what’s the chance the states who got both Gates grants and advanced in RttT are simply better at applying for grants?

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