Colorado joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia as a finalist in the second round of Race to the Top, a controversial competition for federal money meant to transform state education systems. Between 10 and 15 winners will be announced in September, according The Christian Science Monitor.

While Race to the Top backers argue that the competition works to prompt states to tackle difficult reforms, opponents say it’s forcing states to embrace concepts such as charter schools and strict teacher evaluations.

On its blog announcing a press conference to reveal Race to the Top finalists, the Department of Education writes that a “quiet revolution is driven by motivated parents who want better educational options for their children and is driven by educators and administrators who are challenging the inertia that has trapped generations of children in second-rate schools.”

If Colorado makes the cut, it could reap $175 million. The so-called “teacher tenure law,” meant to weed out consistently “ineffective” teachers, is likely a boon for the state’s chances, notes Westword, though criticisms of the law persist.