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Education Week highlights Tenn.’s “dogged path to Race to the Top Finish”

Education Week recently published a lengthy feature on Tennessee’s progress since winning Race to the Top grant money in 2010. Reporter Lauren Camera attributes Tennessee’s win in 2010 to well-written legislation promoted by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, “the state’s lack of a strong teacher’s union,” and the continuity between the leadership of Gov. Bredesen, a Democrat, and Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican. But Camera writes that the implementation of the reforms funded and inspired by Race to the Top was less smooth:

Tennessee paid organizations millions of dollars to help improve its education system, but many of the new policies implemented have yet to yield positive results. The state got serious about turning around its worst schools, but replacing entire teacher corps disrupted communities. Dozens of charter schools opened, but some are no better than the ones they replaced. Teachers agreed to help craft new evaluation and compensation models, but some feel they were steamrolled by consultants hired to draft the new models themselves.

Camera also addresses what the dwindling of Race to the Top funds means for school districts across the state:

The sunset of Race to the Top dollars also has some districts scrambling to backfill funding that for the past three years supported a variety of initiatives. Some districts have successfully replaced the competitive funding, thanks to new partnerships with local colleges and universities or grants from philanthropic organizations; others have begun shedding their least effective programs.

You can find the whole story here.