Assessing Tennessee's progress in Race to the Top education reform

The Root, Slate's African-American-oriented spinoff, checked in with Delaware and Tennessee officials to see how the states are coming along in implementing the first round of the Race to the Top competitive grants for school reform.

Underperforming Tennessee schools in many cases have come up with their own individual reform plans, about which one Memphis teachers union official was ambivalent.

Ken Foster, executive director of the Memphis Education Association, a union group for Memphis teachers, is not quite sold on the mix-and-match nature of individual school reforms. His district, which has a student population that is 86 percent African American, is home to several of the targeted schools.

"We've only been doing this since August of last year, so it's too early to say whether or not any of these things will be successful," Foster told The Root, noting that the teachers union worked with the district on some of the policy changes. "The Race to the Top money was put out there to try experimental things, and Tennessee was willing to step out there and try them. I'm not convinced they will work, but maybe it's time to put it to rest whether they will or not."

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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.