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New Deadlines Set for Race to Top District Contest

The U.S. Department of Education has set a new deadline for the Race to the Top district competition after Hurricane Sandy thwarted the original Oct. 30 due date.

Applications for districts in most states will be due Friday, Nov. 2. Districts in states that have been been declared federal disaster areas because of Hurricane Sandy have until Wednesday, Nov. 7 to apply. That means the extension applies to districts in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia, West Virginia.

Having a few extra days to complete the application process probably won't help districts that are running into trouble completing a key requirement of the contest: getting their teachers' unions to sign onto their application.

Already, several districts in California, including Los Angeles Unified, aren't likely to apply after their unions withheld support. This is an interesting twist given that one of the reasons behind opening up the competition to districts—when Race to the Top had previously been for states only—was to spread money around in states that had, for whatever reason, not won big before.

Clark County in Nevada and Palm Beach in Florida also aren't planning to apply because they can't garner union support.

Per the contest rules, a district that has a teachers' union needs its support—and a signature—to be eligible to apply. It will be interesting to see what the applicant pool looks like given that so many big names won't be applying.

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