Seven States to Share Almost $200 Million in Education Grants

Seven states that narrowly lost out in last year’s Race to the Top school improvement competition will share nearly $200 million in the latest round of winners announced Thursday by federal education officials.

The states were awarded the grants to improve student achievement with plans that include developing teacher and principal evaluation systems and expanding studies in science, technology, engineering and math.

Illinois received the largest grant of $42.8 million, followed by Pennsylvania with $41.3 million and New Jersey with $37.8 million.

Other winners were Arizona ($25 million), Colorado ($17.9 million), Louisiana ($17.4 million) and Kentucky ($17 million).

The latest round of Race to the Top was open only to nine states that were finalists in last year’s high-profile competition for $4 billion in federal money. Each of the nine was eligible this year to submit a new application. However, South Carolina opted out, and California submitted an incomplete application, federal officials said.

Last year’s winners were Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee — with Florida and New York each receiving $700 million.

Since then, Hawaii has struggled to carry out its plans after receiving a $75 million grant. On Wednesday, it became the first state to receive a letter from the federal Education Department warning that its Race to the Top grant was being given “high risk status” — meaning that the state is in danger of losing its grant if it does not show improvement.

“If things don’t change, Hawaii is going to end up in a tough spot,” Education SecretaryArne Duncan said Thursday in a conference call with reporters to announce the latest grants. “I think it’s our obligation to be very clear on that.” <Read more.>

Via Winnie Hu, New York Times.