19 finalists Announced for Race to the Top Funding

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have emerged as finalists for more than $3 billion in funding in Phase Two of Race to the Top. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the 19 finalists during a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday.

The finalists are: Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

They were among 36 applicants for the second round of Race to the Top funding. During the first round, only two states, Tennessee and Delaware, were awarded federal funds to implement school reforms.

The finalists chosen will travel to Washington during the week of Aug. 9 to present their plans to the peer reviewers who scored their applications. After the states' presentations and an extended question-and-answer period, the peer reviewers will finalize their scores and comments.

The Department intends to announce the winners of the competition in September. Duncan acknowledged that not all of the finalists would be awarded grants from the almost $3.4 billion remaining in Race to the Top. Just as in the first round, we're going to set a very high bar because we know that real and meaningful change will only come from doing hard work and setting high expectations," Duncan said.