"I am extremely pleased to learn that New York has been named a finalist in Race to the Top Round II. This competition has provided states with an unprecedented opportunity to reform schools and challenge the educational status quo that is failing too many children, and I am proud to see that New York has been recognized for moving forward with our much needed improvements.
"I commend the Legislature for approving my proposals to lift the State's charter school cap, to link teacher evaluations to student performance and provide resources to implement a data system that tracks individual student performance. These were all areas that the U.S. Department of Education identified as weaknesses in our first application, which failed in large part because the Legislature initially refused to pass these vital reforms.
"Agreement on these measures signaled recognition by all of our State's leaders that for the sake of our children, our schools and our economy, we cannot afford to let these critical education dollars slip away. I am confident that with these reforms, New York's application in this second round will be successful and that we will win the necessary funds to help ensure our children have access to quality education."