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D.C. and Maryland Among Winners of Federal School Reform Grant

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WASHINGTON (AP) D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty says the city has won $75 million in federal funding as part of the Obama administration's ``Race to the Top'' grant competition.

The state of Maryland was also a winner, and will receive $250 million. Maryland is one of nine states, plus the District of Columbia, to be awarded grant money.

Fenty made the announcement in a statement Tuesday. He says that the money matched the amount that the district had sought and was ``fantastic news'' for the city and its students. Fenty made school reform a central focus of his administration when he took over in 2007.

His choice of Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to run the city's public schools has been controversial, however, as she has angered teachers and others with her management style and by firing hundreds of school employees. Fenty and Rhee say test scores have improved under their watch.

Gov. Martin O'Malley says it's an honor for Maryland to be selected as one of the winners of the ``Race to the Top'' competition for federal education funding.

Maryland plans to use the money to bring its curriculum in line with international benchmarks. The state will also expand a program that's shown progress in turning around underperforming schools.

Maryland did not apply for the first round of Race to the Top funds, in part because it did not evaluate teachers' performance based on their students' academic achievement. That was changed in a bill approved this year.

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

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