Outgoing governor Phil Bredesen is encouraging Tennesseans to keep the momentum of education reform going after he leaves office.
Tennessee won $500 million in the federal Race to the Top program. Bredesen says winning the grant is just the first step. Following through with actual reform, he says, will take long-term dedication. To help the state stay on track, the governor created an advisory board called First to the Top, which met for the first time today.
“I see it more as keeping the philosophy alive, to ask hard questions. If future governors, future legislators, future superintendents start to ease up a bit, have this board in place to kind of bring them back to the altar.”
The advisory board consists of 14 state and local leaders, including representatives from teachers’ unions, philanthropic organizations, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
The Race to the Top grant calls for recruiting and rewarding effective teachers and turning around failing schools. For more on how school districts plan to use the money, see Nina Cardona’s stories here and here.
Tennessee’s 264-page Race to the Top proposal can be found here.