Nearly 900 districts to apply for Race to the Top

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(AP) – Nearly 900 school districts across the nation intend to apply for a slice of close to $400 million in grants that the U.S. Department of Education will distribute in support of local initiatives that help close achievement gaps and prepare students for college and a career.

The department announced Friday that 893 applicants are slated to participate in the Race to the Top-District competition.

The Obama administration has already awarded more than $4 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia through its Race to the Top competition. The federal funding spurred a wave of reform across states, encouraging the growth of charter schools and changing how teachers are evaluated. Critics of the program have said it is overly prescriptive and pushes reforms that are not research-based.

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