Obama coaxes states to change with school dollars

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ President Barack Obama is urging states to get their education policies in line with his administration's priorities.

And he has an economic incentive for them to do so: $5 billion in grants known as "Race to the Top.'' The president made his pitch at a middle school in Madison, Wis. He told states that if they develop a strong plan to improve the quality of their educational systems, his administration will help make that plan a reality.

The $5 billion grants are the most money a president has ever had for overhauling schools. Only Education Secretary Arne Duncan _ not Congress _ has control over how it's doled out. And only some states, perhaps 10 to 20, will actually get the money. Obama came to Wisconsin a day before state lawmakers plan to vote to lift a ban on using student test scores to judge teacher performance.

He's calling on all states to follow the example set by Wisconsin and nine other states that have taken steps to rewrite education laws and cut deals with unions that oppose some of those changes.