Tennessee is one of only two states to be awarded Race to the Top funds in the first round of the competition for $4 billion in federal funds. The U.S. Department of Education announced today that only Tennessee’s and Delaware’s applications will be funded in the first round. Tennessee requested $501.8 million to support its application. The funds will be received over a four-year period, with 50 percent of the funds to be distributed directly to local school districts under the existing Title I formula.
Tennessee’s application was a strong contender following the special legislative session in January, in part because it had won the support of TEA, every Tennessee school district and 90 percent of TEA’s local affiliates.
Tennessee’s-and TEA’s-work has just begun as efforts begin to execute the ambitious plans laid out in the state’s Race to the Top application. Local districts will have 90 days to develop their scope of work that aligns with the state application. Local affiliates will need to partner with local districts and, in many cases, bargain contract language to address issues related to the local scope of work. Local leaders should consult with their UniServ Coordinators to determine next steps.
The Tennessee Evaluation Advisory Committee, created by the Tennessee First to the Top Act of 2010, held its first meeting on March 18 and will meet again on April 1 at the TEA building. At its first organizational meeting, the committee divided into five subcommittees. TEA staff is providing information and support to all members of the committee, and will be working most closely with the six TEA members who’ve been appointed to serve. We’re also expecting support and assistance from NEA as the TEAC makes the important decisions that will result in a new streamlined evaluation system which considers student performance.
At the same time as the new evaluation system for educators is being developed and piloted, TEA continues to raise awareness about and seek solutions to increasing student responsibility for learning and parent accountability for supporting the education process.