HONOLULU – Representative Neil Abercrombie today wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to endorse Hawaii’s application for as much as $75 million in federal Race To The Top education funding for the state’s public schools. Abercrombie urged federal officials to look beyond the decision by the Governor, Board of Education, Department of Education and Hawaii State Teachers Association to address a budget shortfall by furloughing teachers every Friday, and to judge the state’s application on its own merit.

“Acting State Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and her community partners have worked diligently to craft an application that addresses all aspects of the Race to the Top competition,” Abercrombie wrote. “Hawaii is prepared to make significant changes in the way we approach education. Properly funded, their plan lays out a realistic approach to reduce the gap between higher achieving and educationally at-risk students.”

Race to the Top is a competitive federal grants program, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It was established to encourage and reward states that create conditions for education innovation and reform, including advances in academic standards and performance assessment, state data systems, teacher distribution and assistance to struggling schools.

“When I accompanied Assistant Secretary of Education Peter Cunningham on his

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