Tennessee one of two states to receive Race to the Top funds

Monday, March 29, 2010 at 11:50am

Tennessee celebrated victory in the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition Monday, becoming one of only two states to hit the jackpot in the first round of funding for progress in education reform.

Tennessee joined Delaware as winners, and federal officials said this state can expect $500 million as its reward for enacting school improvements. Delaware snagged $100 million. Forty states and the District of Columbia entered the competition.

“This is a landmark opportunity for Tennessee,” Gov. Phil Bredesen said Monday. “Our success in Race to the Top speaks to the commitment we’ve made to meaningful and significant improvement in public education, and the funds provided by the grant will carry us forward in a dramatic and positive direction.”

In announcing the grants, Education Secretary Arne Duncan credited Tennessee and Delware for "statewide buy-in for comprehensive plans to reform their schools. They have written new laws to support their policies. And they have demonstrated the courage, capacity and commitment to turn their ideas into practices that can improve outcomes for students."

Delaware and Tennessee have enacted plans to tie teacher pay to student test scores and to turn around their lowest-performing school. Tennessee adopted those reforms during a special legislative session in January, just before the Race to the Top deadline for applications. In addition, the education department said, both states have put in place strong laws and policies to support their reform efforts.

“Tennessee didn’t quite make the Final Four in basketball, but it made the Final Two in improving schools, which is more important," Sen. Lamar Alexander said. "Gov. Bredesen, the legislature and educators deserve credit for their leadership and vision."

Former Sen. Bill Frist, who now chairs the education reform group Tennessee SCORE, said: "Tennessee's Race to the Top win is cause to celebrate. For a state that's typically on the bottom rung of the national education rankings, it's remarkable that we now are at the leading edge of the national reform movement. The reality is: Tennesseans are tired of being 40th-something in our public schools. We're ready to lead."

21 Comments on this post:

By: TITAN1 on 3/29/10 at 11:09

Great news! Oh wait, I hope Eric Crafton doesn't find out!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/29/10 at 11:12

this is good news!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/29/10 at 11:13

TITAN, i hear Eric Crafton is busy trying to stop any "speaking in tongues" at tent revivals and is trying to mandate them to be English Only. LOL

By: cmarcus45 on 3/29/10 at 11:39

So long as the government is going to take unnecessary amounts of tax dollars from hard working Americans and pass them indiscriminately to states at the unbridled whim of the administration, then I am glad Tennessee is getting some of the money.

By: TITAN1 on 3/29/10 at 12:22

That was hilarious, Blanketnazi2!

By: NewYorker1 on 3/29/10 at 1:33

WHAT! Obama lost Tennessee, why in the heck would he give TN one penny? I am ticked off. TN does not deserve that money because they voted for McCain and that Saturday Night Live girl.

By: pswindle on 3/29/10 at 1:57

There is so much hate in TN against President Obama that the state does not deserve the money to be used against him. But, President Obama is bigger that what TN has shown him. I would bet that VP Gore had sometning to do with the prize money. TN keeps kicking Goe down, but he still is in there working for them.

By: ForReal2010 on 3/29/10 at 2:37

Terrible news!!!!!! A disinterested student takes a test that has absolutely no ramification one way or the other on them if they score good or bad. Yet, a teacher's salary is tied to this score......yeah, makes me want to be a teacher. Another example of the reason Gov Bredesen needs to GO....he and President Obama need to GO!!!! Just another example of wasted tax dollars!!!!!!

By: daviscrew on 3/29/10 at 3:26

This is terrible news for Tennessee! If federal funding is dependent upon states meeting certain standards and the bar is raised too much at one time, it is an easy way out for the feds. Sure, make those dumb, old, country hicks think we're giving them a gift when we're really taking their own money and giving them a little back. I could rant for days on this insane "race!"

By: TITAN1 on 3/29/10 at 3:28

Shaking head at last two comments.

By: tdterry1999 on 3/29/10 at 6:32

Do tell how this will help .Just keep throwing money at schools.it never gets any better.next we will give parents money to make sure there kids go to school.

By: bo regard on 3/29/10 at 10:50

hmmmm? is this coopers payoff?

By: idgaf on 3/30/10 at 5:35

Rather then using the slush funds to reward teachers that are doing what they are paid to do we should be eliminating/firing those that are not, and that won't cost the taxpayers anything.

By: DDG on 3/30/10 at 7:42

I think we should tax at higher rates so that we can give away more money to help each other. We can tax our way to prosperity! It's like having a money tree!!! Yeaaaahhhhhh!

By: NewYorker1 on 3/30/10 at 7:51

Education starts at home with the parents. It doesn't matter how much money they put into the system, if the parents are not involved and making sure their kids are learning, then it's a waste of money.

By: daviscrew on 3/30/10 at 12:14

Please stop blaming teachers. Yes, in any profession, we have folks who cannot do their job, but teachers have no control whatsoever over outside influences . . . parents who cannot control their children, do not provide for their children, or otherwise abuse their children. How are we supposed to overcome those situations and teach a child how the world SHOULD treat them? Throwing more money at the school to fix the broken schools and teachers isn't necessary. Please fix the irresponsible parents who are sending us children with no sense of responsibility, accountability, or respect for authority!

By: free thinker on 3/30/10 at 12:52

free thinker,
500 million is a lot of wasted money in Tennessee; the parents and students are nowhere in the equation.

By: NewYorker1 on 3/30/10 at 4:00

I could NOT be a teacher because these kids are bad and I do not tolerate bad children. I know that my temper would cause me to stab or shoot somebody's child. So, that's one profession I need to stay away from.

By: TITAN1 on 3/30/10 at 6:07

There are people who post here that could never be pleased, just chronic complainers.

By: DDG on 3/30/10 at 10:27

When the government stops spending the people's money like drunken sailors, I'll stop complaining. Kind of hard not to complain about the governments ever increasin taxes, intrusion into our lives and the very poor job that they do after they take our money without asking for it.

By: DDG on 3/30/10 at 10:27