Colorado among 19 finalists in latest Race to the Top

Colorado is among 19 states selected as finalists in the second round of competition for $3 billion in federal education funding awarded through the Race to the Top program.

“Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia submitted bold blueprints for reform that bear the signatures of many key players at the state and local level who drive change in our schools,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“Peer reviewers identified these 19 finalists as having the boldest plans, but every state that applied will benefit from this process of collaboratively creating a comprehensive education reform agenda,” Duncan said. “Much of the federal dollars we distribute through other channels can support their plans to raise standards, improve teaching, use data more effectively to support student learning and turn around underperforming schools.”

Including the 36 applications in the second round of Race to the Top, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia applied in either the first or second rounds—or both. In addition to Colorado, the 19 latest finalists are: Arizona, California, 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.

“From educators to parents and political leaders to journalists — there is a sense that a quiet revolution is under way in our homes and schools, classrooms and communities,” Duncan said. “This quiet revolution is driven by motivated parents who want better educational options for their children. It’s being driven by great educators and administrators who are challenging the defeatism and inertia that has trapped generations of children in second-rate schools.”

Duncan said there’s momentum for adopting rigorous standards, elevating the teaching profession to reward excellence, turning around low-performing schools and building better data systems.

At press time, the latest finalists were preparing to travel to Washington, D.C., to present their plans to peer reviewers who scored the applications. The winners are scheduled to be announced in September.