New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and five other states are winners in the latest round of federal Race to the Top education grants.
New Jersey will receive $37.8 million and Pennsylvania $41.3 million from a pot of nearly $200 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education, in an announcement to be made public Friday.
The money is intended to support changes to the educational system advocated by the Obama administration and to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
The nine states that were finalists in the first two Race to the Top competitions were eligible to apply. New Jersey and Pennsylvania each had two failed efforts in 2010, including one that resulted in the firing of New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler. Schundler and Gov. Christie battled publicly over who was responsible for the state's botched application and whether Schundler lied to cover up the error.
Last week, it was announced that the two states were not among nine selected to receive Race to the Top money for early childhood education.
However, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan had praise for New Jersey and Pennsylvania's latest applications and the states' reform goals, which include charter-school support and revamping teacher-evaluation systems, measures the White House advocated.
New Jersey education officials said the state planned to share some of its grant money with local districts.
The award "will help give educators in New Jersey the tools they need to be successful and the support to meet our reform agenda goals," Christie said Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the federal grant would go to support the state's effort to overhaul teacher evaluations, gather data on quality instruction, and expand opportunities for students in STEM education, including online programs.
"We're excited about this $41 million coming to the commonwealth," Tomalis said.