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JV_BACKTOSCHOOL 158.JPGState education officials are reacting this morning to news that California wasn't a winner in round two of the Race to the Top competition for federal education funding.

The state was competing for a piece of $3.4 billion in federal stimulus dollars awarded to states that demonstrate a commitment to pursuing school reforms backed by the Obama administration. State officials had estimated California, which also lost in round one of the funding competition, could win hundreds of millions of dollars.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said he was "deeply disappointed" that California wasn't selected as a winner this round.

"[T]he loss of the funding may slow, but not defeat, our efforts to improve student achievement in California," O'Connell said in a statement. "We remain fully committed to continue seeking the strategies and resources demanded to accelerate our efforts to close the achievement gap among different groups of students by creating fundamental and far-reaching reforms."

California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss said the state's application "established a bold roadmap for the future of public education."

"The historic education reforms signed into law to empower parents to have a true voice in their children's education and to transform under-performing schools, as well as the collaboration begun by our participating school districts will continue to move forward," she said in a statement. "We remain firmly committed to the goal of ensuring that every classroom has an effective teacher and every school has an effective principal so every student in California graduates prepared for college and career success."

The winning applications came from Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

The Associated Press has more on the RTTT announcement here.

PHOTO CREDIT: A kindergartner walks to class with his parents on the first day of school at the new Cosumnes River Elementary School on Aug. 16. José Luis Villegas/ Sacramento Bee



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