NPR logo Winners Of $3.4 Billion 'Race To The Top' Competition, Round Two: Nine States, D.C.

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Winners Of $3.4 Billion 'Race To The Top' Competition, Round Two: Nine States, D.C.

President Obama speaks as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan looks on, at the Department of Education in Washington, DC, on July 24, 2009, announcing "Race to the Top." Jewel Samad/AFP hide caption

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Jewel Samad/AFP

President Obama speaks as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan looks on, at the Department of Education in Washington, DC, on July 24, 2009, announcing "Race to the Top."

Jewel Samad/AFP

Last month, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told NPR's Michele Norris that many of the 35 second-round applicants for "Race to the Top" funding — 34 states, plus the District of Columbia — had improved on their first-round proposals, and he expected to allocate money to more than half of the 19 finalists.

Today, the Department of Education announced the winners.

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Rhode Island, Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, and the District of Columbia will split some $3.4 billion.

"These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," Duncan said in a statement. "Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking. We set a high bar and these states met the challenge."