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Duncan to 'i3' Losers: Don't Complain, Demand More Money

Today is the deadline for districts, schools, and nonprofits to apply for Investing in Innovation grants, and when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit at noon, already 800 had flooded in.

More than 2,000 are expected by today's 4:30 p.m. deadline. (A quick side-note: The department has extended the i3 deadline to May 19 for applicants who were affected by the massive flooding in Tennessee earlier this month. (UPDATE: Thanks to the Politics K-12 reader who alerted me that I had included the wrong deadline date for those affected in Tennessee. May 19 is the correct date.)

With a mere $650 million available (which pales next to the $4 billion available for Race to the Top), it's fair to say tens of hundreds of applicants will go home empty-handed.

And Secretary Duncan, who is trying to convince Congress to extend the i3 competition as part of the department's fiscal 2011 budget, has a message for losers:

"I need you not to scream about the process" and the scoring system, Duncan told about 600 in attendance at today's NewSchools summit. Instead, he said, "I need you to [lobby for] Investing in Innovation Two." He continued, "We need losers to demand...the next generation of funding."

We'll see if the i3 losers heed his advice or not. After all, the competition's final regulations estimate that up to 205 applicants will be winners. That leaves a lot of losers.

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