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Seven States to Compete in Race to the Top's Latest Round

Seven states that narrowly missed getting a piece of the $4 billion in Race to the Top money in the last round are going for another shot at a grant, the U.S. Department of Education announced today.

Nine states that scored high in the second round of the Race to the Top competition, but not quite high enough to win a grant, were eligible for this third round of funding, totaling $200 million.

The seven states in contention are: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. States will be eligible for grants based on their population.

Notably, California isn't in the running, which likely will mean more money for everyone else. California submitted an incomplete application, the department said. Apparently, California didn't cover the full gamut of assurances, and didn't explain how they planned to address them.

And South Carolina, which has had a major turnover in leadership since its almost-made-it-bid, opted out of the competition. South Carolina also didn't meet the maintenance of effort requirements for the Education Jobs Fund, a prerequisite for the competition.

The applicants in this round were required to submit data showing that they're continuing to work toward the four assurances (turning around low-performing schools, improving teacher quality, boosting standards and assessments, and bolstering data-systems) outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

By mid-December, each of the seven states will have to submit a budget for how they would use the grant and identify which part of the Round 2 application they want the federal government to fund. In a new twist, they will also have explain how their plan will help improve science, technology, engineering, and math education.

The department will announce the winners of this third "Bridesmaid" round of Race to the Top funding by the end of the year.

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