After working diligently to prepare an application for Race to the Top, Georgia was almost selected as a recipient of the federal funding.
Forty states and the District of Columbia submitted applications, and Georgia made it to the shortlist of 16 finalists. Ultimately, only Tennessee and Delaware were named as recipients.
"We are disappointed, but not surprised that Georgia was not selected — we knew from the beginning that it would be a very competitive process," said Will Schofield, Hall County Schools superintendent who serves on Georgia’s Race to the Top committee. "I think the biggest surprise is that they only chose two states."
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the race is a $4.35 billion competition "designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform." The goal is to improve the lowest-performing schools and assist states in recruiting and retaining effective staff and administrators.
With about $3.4 billion still available through the program, which is funded by the economic stimulus package, a second phase of the competition will be held. Applications are due June 1 for those states that applied for funding in phase one.
"It is unfortunate that Georgia was not named a winner for Race to the Top funds, but I know we are well-positioned to be in contention for the next round of funding," said Kathy Cox, state superintendent of schools. "We will take the U.S. Department of Education’s suggestions and work on perfecting those parts of the application for phase two."