After some debate,  Gov. Bill Ritter and other Colorado officials have decided to apply for Round 2 of Race to the Top education-reform funding after all.

Although the state placed in the top 16 of the first round of the U.S. Department of Education program, it received a low score for not explaining well-enough how its reform strategy would enhance student performance.

During the past week, Ritter, Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and Education Commissioner Dwight Jones reviewed scoring results and feedback from the Round 1 application and talked with education stakeholders in Colorado, deciding it’s in the best interest of Colorado students to re-apply for the federal grant funding.

Because the state has broken new ground with student-centered reforms during the past three years, officials deemed it important to continue their efforts.

“We put together a solid Race to the Top application for Round 1 that would have allowed us to build on and accelerate the reforms that will allow all children in Colorado to reach their God-given potential,” Ritter said.

“Our Round 2 application will make an even stronger case for how we will improve student achievement, turn around struggling schools and improve educator effectiveness.”

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Colorado’s Race to the Top team will continue to review the Round 1 comments and submit the application for Round 2 by the June 1 deadline.

“We must reduce the achievement gap, turn around struggling schools and provide the best education possible for our students,” O’Brien said.