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Wisconsin races to capture major money in Obama's education program

Wisconsin can get $150 to $250 million in President Obama's Race to the Top education program, but it will have to beat out a group of other states.

The education department announced the application process Thursday. The deadline is Jan. 19 to apply for the first round of federal grants.

And the reforms made by each state will determine who gets the money, especially for academic standards, testing, recruiting and keeping good teachers, and improving troubled schools.

Earlier this week, Gov. Jim Doyle signed four bills aimed at winning that stimulus money including an end to the state's ban on using test scores to evaluate teachers.

Doyle wants lawmakers to meet soon to give Milwaukee's mayor control of that city's troubled schools and to give the state superintendent the power to intervene in other low-performing districts.

But Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker says he's not ready to let his colleagues vote on either measure.

He says the community must show support for the mayoral control.

And the Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing in Milwaukee to gauge that support.

Also, Decker said he had reservations about letting the superintendent intervene in specific schools.

He says he has not seen proof that it would do any good.

The first federal education grants will be awarded next spring.

Applications for a second round will be taken June 1. And that money will be handed out next September.