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Ed. Dept. Names 31 Finalists for Race to the Top District Contest

The U.S. Department of Education today named 31 finalists for the second Race to the Top district competition, worth $120 million.

The winners include large urban districts such as Baltimore, Denver, and Houston, a handful of rural districts (such as a group from the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative), and at least one group of charter schools via Rocketship Education in California. Also, the TEAM Academy Charter School in New Jersey is a finalist.

The 31 finalists represent 80 school districts across 21 states, and were whittled down from a field of more than 200 applications the department received in October. The department expects to name up to 10 winners by the end of the calendar year.

Awards will range from $4 million to $30 million.

The department explained how it picked the finalists, which were scored by a three-person panel of outside peer reviewers: It arranged the applications in rank order from high to low scores, and determined which of the strongest competitors to invite back based on "natural breaks," or scoring gaps in the lineup. 

The competition seeks to find a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools that have a particularly strong emphasis on personalized learning. The complete list of finalists:

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