So far, Michigan an also-ran

LANSING - Michigan did not make the cut in the first round of Race to the Top, though it can try again this fall, according to The Detroit News. The state missed out on a share of $4.35 billion in competitive grants to be awarded for educational reform.

Of the 16 finalists announced by the U.S. Department of Education, only about half will win grants in April, according to The News. Application scores and comments will be released to all the states at that time.

Michigan sought $526 million to help implement dropout, charter school and teacher reforms enacted in December to qualify for the Obama administration's national competition, The News reported.

"This decision is not just disappointing, it is shocking," said David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told The News, pointing out that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan singled out Detroit Public Schools as a "national disgrace."

The Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, refused to sign off on the state's application and urged local affiliates not to take part, The News reported. Duncan said that union involvement was "one of many factors" considered by review panels.

The Detroit News, "Michigan schools fail to win federal money," March 5, 2010

Michigan Education Report, "State to schools: Think outside the classroom," Oct. 2, 2009