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Press Release

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sandi Copes
(850) 245-0150

Attorney General Certifies Florida's Application for Federal Education Funding

TALLAHASSEE, FL Attorney General Bill McCollum today certified the Florida Department of Education's application for the federal Race to the Top grant funding program and commended Education Commissioner Eric Smith for his efforts to secure federal funding for Florida's schools. The application process required the Attorney General to officially certify that Florida's application was in accordance with Florida law before it could be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

"This is an enormous opportunity to increase our state's education resources, giving our students a better chance to be fully competitive when they enter the global workforce," said Attorney General McCollum. "Over the past decade, Florida has made significant progress in raising student achievement, but we must continue to advance reform to ensure every student has access to a quality education."

The application comes just days after Florida's education system was ranked eighth in the nation by a national education report that graded states on areas including student achievement and accountability.

The Race to the Top program offers states a chance to apply for a portion of more than $4 billion. The Attorney General noted that many of the school districts throughout the state have supported the application for the federal funding, and expressed his hope that resistance to the application has not adversely affected Florida's opportunity to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars for excellent teachers. Florida has been recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as extremely likely to obtain potentially up to $700 million for its education system.

A copy of the Attorney General's certification is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-7ZQHWW/$file/RacetotheTop.pdf (PDF)

For an official, downloadable photograph, please visit http://www.myfloridalegal.com/picture.html. Also, follow the Attorney General's Office on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/myfloridalegal