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Mass. Not Picked For 'Race' Education Grants

Massachusetts was not selected for the first round of the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top" competition. The department on Monday picked Delaware and Tennessee, giving part of an unprecedented $4.35 billion to the two states.

Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville said he is disappointed but also said the state is planning to reapply for the federal education grants at the next round in June. Reville pointed out that there is still about $3.6 billion left in potential grant money yet to be awarded.

"Obviously we're disappointed not to be in the winner's circle at this stage of the process, but this is only the beginning of the process," Reville said to WBUR.

Before the state submits a new grant proposal in June, Reville said he plans to review comments from federal officials to see where the state can improve its application. He said he also hopes to study the applications from Delaware and Tennessee.

"We'll take that feedback and then align it with our strategies," Reville said. "We want to stay on the course that we're on because we're doing bold, important things in all the key areas here in Massachusetts to close achievement gaps, but if we can modify our approach in ways that are responsive to the criteria and responsive to the reviewers, then we intend to do so."

Massachusetts was among 16 states being considered in the first round, as the state is hoping to be awarded up to $287 million in federal funding over four years.

The selected states, Delaware and Tennessee, received hundreds of millions in grants designed to encourage the use of innovative programs to improve student performance and transform struggling schools.

It wasn’t immediately known exactly how much money the two states would receive, but officials in Tennessee said they applied for $500 million and their counterparts in Delaware asked for $100 million.

The U.S. Department of Education asked states to concentrate their proposals on four areas: adopting standards and assessments to better prepare students for careers and college; getting high-quality teachers into classroom; turning around low-performing schools; and creating data systems to track performance.

This program aired on March 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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