In his second year in office, the U.S. Secretary of Education revved up school reform across the country with Race to the Top, a competitive grant program that this year awarded $4 billion to states demonstrating serious commitment to improving their schools. What Duncan had called "the equivalent of education reform's moon shot" in 2009 has driven states to pursue policies that may once have seemed politically impossible. Teachers' unions have been challenged and common standards adopted, thanks in no small part to Duncan's eagerness to play ball. The Obama Administration plans to continue pushing for change, including reworking No Child Left Behind. But that will require the cooperation of the new Republican House majority some of whose members have said they are wary of excessive government spending.
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