In 2010, Tennessee ranked near the bottom of the nation in every educational measure. In response, Tennessee’s political, educational and civic leaders have worked to create an environment for education reform unlike any other in the country. The result: public support, private investment and proven leadership that has led to some of the greatest educational gains in the country.
In early 2010, under the leadership of former Gov. Phil Bredesen, Tennessee was one of two states awarded the first round of federal Race to the Top grants designed to turn around targeted school systems. The grant awarded $501 million to the state in federal education money – including $14 million dedicated to charter school growth.
Since then, current Gov. Bill Haslam, state lawmakers and national education leaders have worked to remove roadblocks to meaningful progress.
- The state revamped its teacher evaluation process to use a wealth of student data for the first time in evaluating teachers.
- The cap on charter schools was removed, enabling TCSI to work with other charter school organizations, instead of competing against them.
- An Achievement School District was created to help authorize charter schools in areas with the lowest-performing schools. Gov. Haslam tapped Chris Barbic, nationally known for starting YES Prep Public Schools, to lead the ASD.
- The state applied for and received a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, enabling Tennessee to enact its own accountability system.
Tennessee’s political leaders understand the need for new solutions. You can be part of that solution.
Tennessee has attracted high-profile foundations and investors to spur immediate implementation of critical reforms. Most notably, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $90 million to Memphis City Schools to improve teacher effectiveness, while selecting Nashville as one of nine cities to receive funding for a district-charter compact.
Our board members also have committed significant resources to ensuring that Incubator-backed schools establish a record of excellence from the very first day they open their doors. The Education Entrepreneurs Fellowship is a result of that commitment and the commitment of our partners to our mission. When you become an Education Entrepreneur fellow, you will know that you’re joining a national network prepared to help you succeed.
No other state can boast of the top-flight leadership that Tennessee has attracted to its education reform movement. Leaders like Chris Barbic and Kevin Huffman have brought their extensive knowledge and experience to Tennessee because they believe this state can provide a national model for education success.
The Education Entrepreneurs Fellowship will enable you to tap into that knowledge as you embark on the transformation of your school. When you have questions or need assistance, the Tennessee Charter School Incubator and its networks will be there for you. Tennessee will provide the start-to-finish support you need as you embark on a transformational mission unlike any other in the country.