Rep. Jim Costa expressed his extreme disappointment in the U.S. Department of Education's decision to exclude Fresno Unified School District, Central Unified School District, and Sanger Unified School District as finalists for the Race to the Top-District Competition. The three cash-strapped school districts all serve high-need populations in the San Joaquin Valley.
"Race to the Top's primary aim is closing the achievement gap and improving performance for underserved students," said Costa. "I have made clear to Administration officials that they have missed the mark on this decision to exclude Fresno Unified, Central Unified, and Sanger Unified from the final review process. The special needs of our students demand innovative approaches to help them complete high school and prepare them for life after graduation."
"All of these districts overcame great obstacles to complete their applications and worked together to put their students first. Should there be another round of applications, I will fight to ensure our Valley gets its fair share."
Nationwide over 372 applications were submitted for the Race to the Top-District Competition. Of those, 61 finalists were selected for the four-year grant program that will help prepare students for success after graduation. The Department expects to select between 15-25 winning applications before the end of the year.