About two dozen states are going back to Washington for another shot at billions in education grants under the federal “Race to the Top” program, but at least nine others with more than 7 million children are opting out of trying a second time, reports the Associated Press. For them, a chance at hundreds of millions of dollars wasn’t enough to overcome the opposition of teachers unions, the wariness of state leaders to pass laws to suit the program, and fears of giving up too much local control. Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming will all be on the sidelines for the second round, along with a handful of other states that didn’t apply the first time. So far, only two states—Delaware and Tennessee—have been approved for the money. This could be the last time “Race to the Top” money is given out. The Education Department probably will dole out the remaining nearly $4 billion in the second round, and it’s unlikely Congress will allocate more. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the department was “thrilled with the level of participation we’ve seen,” and the reforms enacted by the states that did apply “makes them all winners when it comes to furthering the state of education for our kids.”

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staff and wire services reports