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Mass. Again A Finalist For 'Race To The Top' Funding

Massachusetts has been named a finalist for the Obama administration's grant competition to encourage states to revamp their education systems.

The U.S. Department of Education told the state Tuesday it is one of 19 finalists in the second round of the administration's $4.3 billion "Race to the Top" education initiative.

Gov. Deval Patrick calls it "good news" for the state's students and teachers, and says the state has a "solid plan" for improving schools.

Massachusetts has applied for $250 million under the program, which awards states pursuing education overhauls.

Last week the state adopted national education standards for math and English, which they promised to do in their May application. States get credit if they have adopted the national standards by Aug. 2.

The remaining $3.4 billion in the initiative will be awarded in September. Massachusetts was not among the two states that won the first-round grants.

Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester says the proposals are much stronger this time around.

"No more than about a dozen states, at most, are going to receive a grant, so we have a ways to go, but we're in the ball game here," Chester said.

Even if Massachusetts loses out on the second round of funding, Patrick says the state is still dedicated to improving its schools.

"This is a strategy that is about resources to help us close the achievement gap and that is something we are committed to, whether or not we get a 'Race to the Top' award," Patrick said.

Earlier:

This program aired on July 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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