Durbin: Illinois Among Finalists In Phase Two of Innovative Race to The Top Education Reform Competition

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the Department of Education has named Illinois among 19 finalists for Phase Two of its Race to the Top competition. The Race to the Top Fund provides competitive grants to encourage and reward states like Illinois that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform. In March, Illinois placed fifth in Phase One of the Race to the Top competition.

“Maintaining the status quo in our schools is simply not acceptable,” said Durbin. “We need to elevate the quality of our schools, improve instruction and boost college graduation rates. We owe it to our children to give them stronger skills to compete in the global economy. With the strong application that Illinois submitted, I believe we can be successful in the next phase of this competition.”

The Department of Education received applications for Phase Two of the competition from 35 states and the District of Columbia. As part of the application process, Illinois was asked to document past education reform successes as well as outline plans to extend reforms, build a workforce of highly effective educators, create systems to support student achievement and turn around low-performance schools. The state implemented several ambitious reforms to improve the application submitted for Phase One. The state also proposed plans that were supported by 521 superintendents, representing 81% of the state’s students.


Illinois will now present its application to the panel that reviewed their applications in depth during the initial stage, and engage in Q&A discussions with the reviewers. The panel will then recommend one or more finalists to be selected as competition winners by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Winners of Phase Two are eligible for more than $3 billion to help execute their outlines and drive education reform.