ATLANTA (AP) — Illinois, 17 other states and the District of Columbia have been named finalists in the second round of the federal "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition, giving them a chance to win a share of $3 billion.
Department officials provided The Associated Press with a list of the finalists ahead of a speech by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The other states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
The competition rewards ambitious reforms aimed at improving struggling schools and closing the achievement gap.
Two states, Tennessee and Delaware, were awarded a total of $600 million in the first round