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An influential education reform group is announcing its endorsement and financial backing of nearly two dozen Illinois legislative candidates in the November election.

Stand for Children is an Oregon-based education reform group that was instrumental in the passage of a 2011 law making it tougher for teachers to strike and for performance evaluations to be a major factor in achieving tenure.

The group has $1.8 million in its war chest. It has been backed in the past by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur), but is only making endorsements in legislative races.

Stand for Children is backing 20 House candidates and two Senate candidates, with endorsements evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Government affairs director Jessica Handy tells The Associated Press all candidates favor school funding reform to some degree.

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