After losing the first round of big federal bucks for education and amid opposition from many teachers, Colorado lawmakers tweaked state laws requiring comprehensive teacher and administrator evaluation programs. Not only were the changes seen as innovative, they were also considered to be just the kind of change the feds wanted to see before doling out a second round of “Race to the Top” money to the states.

But the effort didn’t work.

On Tuesday, nine states and the District of Columbia were named as winners of the total $3.4 billion available in the competition, and Colorado wasn’t one of them (via The Christian Science Monitor). Governor Bill Ritter tells The Denver Post he “believed all along we would be funded,” and the state will still move ahead with reforms now left without funding.

Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien, who led the effort, points out that with the exception of Hawaii, winning states are all located in the eastern United States.

“I’m very disappointed in the U.S. Department of Education—that they have a process so slanted toward the East Coast and the East Coast way of thinking,” she says.