North Carolina is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia named finalists on Tuesday in the second round of the federal "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition. The states are angling for a chance to win a share of $3 billion.
North Carolina missed out in March when Tennessee and Delaware won $600 million in grants to improve failing schools in the first round of competition for the "Race to the Top."
Two months ago, Gov. Beverly Perdue and the General Assembly changed state law to adopt federal guidelines on how local school districts could retool low-performing schools.
"To be selected as one of only 19 finalists out of a pool of 41 is tremendous recognition of the work we are doing here in North Carolina to ensure that all of our children have access to the best possible public education," Perdue said.
Perdue said the state was among the first to adopt adherence to a common national standard for what children are taught in core subjects. She said she asked boards overseeing the state's public universities, community colleges and independent Colleges to adopt the same standards.