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FIRST ON 3: NC wins 'Race to the Top' school reform grant

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The U.S. Education Department says North Carolina has joined eight other states and the District of Columbia to receive money in the second round of the more than $4 billion "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition.

Department spokesman Justin Hamilton says the other winners are: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.

The amounts of the grants are expected to be announced later, but a state official told The Associated Press that North Carolina will receive $400 million.

The official requested anonymity because the Education Department hasn't released the amounts yet.

The aim of the "Race to the Top" program is to reward ambitious changes to improve schools and close the achievement gap.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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