By Kavitha Cardoza
The U.S. Department of Education has picked Delaware and Tennessee for the first round of its "Race to the Top" competition. The District of Columbia was a finalist but didn't make the cut.
Tennessee could recieve $500 million and their counterparts in Delaware, $100 million. The District ranked last among the finalists. Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, says the grants are designed to encourage innovative programs to improve student performance and transform struggling schools.
Federal officials will collect a second round of applications for the highly selective grant program in June. The states that were not picked this time can reapply for grants then.