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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The US Education Department says North Carolina’s progress on changing education in line with a $400 million federal grant is slowed by state education officials underestimating the time needed to get going.

The Education Department releases progress reports Tuesday for the first year of the Race to the Top grants for North Carolina, 11 other states, and the nation’s capital.

The report says North Carolina recognized the need to expand its staff to manage the several new education improvement projects. The federal agency says the state’s hiring and contract process delayed bringing on people.

The federal report says North Carolina has started raising standards, improving teacher quality, and building the connection between classroom and career as expected.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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