ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton plans to lobby the U.S. education secretary about getting Minnesota into a competitive federal grant program the state previously missed out on.

Addressing the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Dayton said Friday his administration will explore the possibility of applying anew for Race to the Top grants. The Democrat intends to ask Secretary Arne Duncan about it when the nation's education chief comes to Minnesota in two weeks.

It's not clear whether there's even an opening for a new application. The program was designed to encourage innovative programs to boost student achievement, and hundreds of millions of dollars were on the line for successful states.

Minnesota's initial application was denied. Then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided not to try for again amid a standoff with the state teacher's union.

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