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Mass. Wins $250M In Federal Ed Reform Funds

BOSTON — Massachusetts will get $250 million of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education grants to help states with innovations.

The U.S. Education Department said Tuesday that Massachusetts is among nine states and the District of Columbia to receive money as second-round winners of the competition. The winners share $3.4 billion in grants.

The money will help improve teacher training, evaluations and analysis of student strengths and weaknesses, according to Tom Scott, the director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

“It’s going to provide us an opportunity to really do some collaborative work between the teachers, principals and the district leaders in areas that will help us to advance ourselves to even higher performance,” Scott said.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan pointed to the state’s previous efforts to improve its schools and its recent adoption of national education standards as reasons for receiving the federal money.

“Massachusetts, as you know, has a long history of education reform,” Duncan said, “and has helped to drive the national conversation.”

The other states that will be receiving grants are Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.

States were rewarded for reforms intended to turn around low-performing schools through such things as improved student testing and teacher accountability, and lifting caps on charter schools.

In January, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill to overhaul the state’s education system, and in July, Massachusetts adopted national standards for English and math curricula to help boost its standing in the competition.

Massachusetts was one of 19 finalists in the second round.

Tennessee and Delaware were named winners in the first round of the competition in March, sharing $600 million.

Earlier ‘Race’ Coverage:

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