Education Department Announces 10 'Race to the Top' Winners in Round Two

Experts question why Colorado and Louisiana didn't make the cut.

ByABC News
August 24, 2010, 4:29 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2010— -- The Obama administration announced 10 winners today in the second round of the "Race To The Top" stimulus grant competition for education reform: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

The announcement comes after months of heated debate among educators across the country, internal strife in state legislatures, and local disputes with teachers' unions.

"The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking. These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on a conference call this afternoon.

Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for a portion of the $3.4 billion remaining in the competition. That list was then winnowed down to 19 finalists last month.

States were judged on their proposals to adopt the department's reform goals. Those goals include: embracing common academic standards, improving teacher quality, creating educational data systems, and turning around their lowest-performing schools.

Common threads among the 10 winners announced today include their bold approaches to turning around low-performing schools and their teacher evaluations systems. All of the winners also adopted common academic standards.

The 10 winners were decided based on the scores they received from peer-review panels. All the winners received a score of more than 440 out of a possible 500. In the first phase of the competition, only the two winners, Delaware and Tennessee scored above 440.

The decision to limit the winners to 10 states was based on the amount of funding available.

"We had many more competitive applications than money available to award," Duncan said. "We're very hopeful there will be a Phase 3 of Race to the Top and we have requested $1.35 billion dollars in next year's budget. ... In the meantime, we will partner with each and every state that applied to help them find ways to carry out the bold reforms they've proposed in their applications."