Published: Aug 24, 2010 4:57 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 24, 2010 1:57 PM EDT

ATLANTA (AP) - The U.S. Education Department says nine states and the District of Columbia will receive money in the second round of the $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition.

Department spokesman Justin Hamilton says the winners are: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. The amounts of the grants are expected to be announced later.

The competition has instigated a wave of reforms across the country, as states passed new teacher accountability policies and lifted caps on charter schools to boost their chances of winning.

The aim of the historic program is to reward ambitious changes to improve schools and close the achievement gap.

Tennessee and Delaware were named winners in the first round of the competition in March, sharing $600 million. The applicants named winners Tuesday will share a remaining $3.4 billion.