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Klein, Mulgrew to help pitch New York's Race to the Top plan

When Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch pitches New York’s Race to the Top application to federal judges next month, she’ll be joined by two familiar faces from New York City.

Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew will go with state education officials when they travel to Washington, D.C., in two weeks, Tisch announced today.

The three will accompany State Education Commissioner David Steiner and Deputy Commissioner John King, both of whom also represented the state in its first-round presentation in March.

For the first-round presentation, Tisch sent a lower-profile, more technocratic team comprised mostly of state education officials responsible for building the grant application. Things didn’t go well, and the presentation cost the state points.

The addition of Klein and Mulgrew — as well as of Tisch herself — represents a shift in strategy. Klein is known nationally as a proponent of the style of education reform favored by the Obama administration, and the state’s Race to the Top plan relies heavily on replicating programs Klein has launched in New York City.

And Tisch will likely count on Mulgrew to convince federal judges that the state’s plan has the full support of its teachers unions. In the first round, New York was one of three finalist states that lost points after the presentation round, largely because judges doubted that the state’s proposals could reach all students in the state without more union buy-in.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has repeatedly said that the in-person presentation is a crucial step where states can demonstrate that their leadership teams have the ability to pull off the reform plans they have proposed.

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