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Tennessee one of two states to win Race to the Top
Date: 03/30/2010
“The Race to the Top initiative is extremely well aligned with our strategic plan, and will help us achieve our ambitious goal of Excellence for All Children”
Dr. McIntyre
Superintendent
Knox County Schools
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the winners of phase one in the Race to the Top competitive education grant program: Tennessee and Delaware.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen recently met with members of the media to discuss the Race to the Top announcement. Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools, traveled to Eakin Elementary School in Nashville to support the Governor’s announcement. Dr. McIntyre joined Governor Bredesen and Senator Jamie Woodson on the five-member team earlier in March to help present the State of Tennessee’s proposal to the U.S. Department of Education.

While Tennessee could receive approximately $500 million to implement its comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years, the final budget figure will be discussed between the grantees and the U.S. Department of Education.

“This announcement demonstrates that the rest of the nation sees how serious Tennessee is about comprehensive state-wide education reform and improvement,” Dr. McIntyre said. “I applaud the leadership of Governor Bredesen, Senator Woodson, and Commissioner Webb, as well as the political resolve of the legislature in enacting bold and innovative strategies to improve the education of our children.

“I also appreciate the business community, teachers, parents and the Tennessee Education Association for their support of the legislation and Tennessee’s Race to the Top plan. It is clear that without strong bipartisan and multi-sector support Tennessee would not have been successful in this competition. This award shows that wonderful things can happen if adults work together to do the right thing for children,” McIntyre continued.

The Race to the Top grant program is designed to reward states that are leading the way in comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform across four key areas:

• Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace
• Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction
• Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most
• Turning around lowest-performing schools

“The Race to the Top initiative is extremely well aligned with our strategic plan, and will help us achieve our ambitious goal of Excellence for All Children,” Dr. McIntyre said. “While this funding will not resolve our budget challenges, as the money is not intended for ordinary on-going operating costs, it will enable us to implement some important and innovative initiatives that are in our strategic plan but which we would have otherwise struggled to find the resources to achieve.

“This funding, given to only two states, validates and affirms that Tennessee is moving in the right direction: embracing high academic standards, and using data for accountability and support. Clearly the federal government recognizes that Tennessee is a great investment right now, and these dollars will allow us to do some remarkable things for children in Knox County and across Tennessee.”

Tennessee and Delaware were selected among 40 applicants and 16 finalists in phase one of the Race to the Top competition.

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