From yesterday’s New York Times:
Delaware and Tennessee beat out 38 other states and the District of Columbia to win a share of $4 billion in federal education grants, convincing the Obama administration that they have bold plans for overhauling their public school systems.
Delaware is to be awarded about $100 million and Tennessee about $500 million.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the two states had won because they had written new laws to support their policies and had marshaled overwhelming statewide support from teachers, school districts and business leaders for comprehensive school improvement plans.
I’m not sure what tangible changes that $500 million will translate into, but this is pretty exciting. The money itself is exciting, obviously, but it’s what that money means that is most impressive to me: I’m going to be teaching in a state that has demonstrated such a commitment to improving education that the government is awarding it $500 million to put where its mouth is. I feel all warm and fuzzy already, knowing that I will likely have a strong support system that believes in higher student achievement as much as I do.
Education reform – and specifically, great teaching – has made it into the news quite a few times in recent months (see: The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, World News Tonight), and regardless of how Teach For America is portrayed (favorably, though, for the most part), this attention to teacher accountability and the possibility for serious academic gains in even the most disadvantaged schools and communities, can only be a good thing for America’s students. I’ve begun reading Teaching As Leadership as part of pre-institute work, and it’s only making me want to be a great teacher even more. If those people can do it, I think, make these huge strides with their students, so can I. My sense of possibility is alive and well.