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38 Applications Expected for Race to Top, Round Two

Education Secretary Arne Duncan continues to have a good day at the office as 37 states plus the District of Columbia say they're going to compete in the second round of Race to the Top, in which $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus prize money is up for grabs.

Given all of the squabbles within states over buy-in, and one or two newsworthy state dropouts from the competition, this is a very strong showing for Duncan's signature education reform driver. No doubt, Duncan recognizes the importance of strong state support for Race to the Top—as is evident by the fact that he's ready to help talk states like California into applying. After all, he's seeking to make Race to the Top a more permanent part of his portfolio.

If you figure that Delaware and Tennessee already won, just 11 states are bowing out of Race to the Top, round two.

Here's who did not file their intent to apply with the department by yesterday's deadline (not counting Delaware and Tennessee): Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

These intents to apply are not binding, and are more of a courtesy so the department can plan accordingly for the second round. Last time around, 37 said they would apply, and 40 plus D.C. ended up doing it. We'll know for sure on June 1, when second round applications are due.

However, if all 37 states and D.C. do end up applying in round two, then that leaves just four states that sat out the opportunity altogether, passing up both rounds of competition and a chance at winning part of this $4 billion education-reform competition. They are: Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, and Vermont.

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