Illinois has been named a finalist in a Department of Education nationwide competition.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin said Illinois is among nine finalists in the Race to the Top competition, which encourages bold education innovation and reform.
"Maintaining the status quo in our schools is simply not acceptable," said Durbin. "We need to elevate the quality of our schools, improve instruction and boost college graduation rates. We owe it to our children to give them stronger skills to compete in the global economy."
In addition to Illinois, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina all are eligible to compete for the $200 million prize.
As a part of the application process, Illinois was asked to document past successes in education reform as well as outline plans of continuing improvements for school districts.
Durbin says Illinois is eligible to receive up to $50 million in funding through the Race to the Top education reform competition.