- With 80% of the bottom-ranked schools in Tennessee, Memphis is taking center stage in Tennessee's Achievement School District, founded last year as part of the state's effort to qualify for a Race to the Top grant.
- Schools with the lowest test scores and graduation rates are placed in the district, which utilizes numerous practices favored by reformers across the country and places many of the schools under the control of charter operators.
- Five of the six schools taken over last fall were in Memphis, and while some have celebrated signs of progress during the achievement district's seven months of existence, there have been complaints regarding racial sensitivity and the sidelining of experienced teachers.
From the article:
... Most of the schools will be run by charter operators. All will emphasize frequent testing and data analysis. Many are instituting performance pay for teachers and longer school days, and about a fifth of the new district’s recruits come from Teach for America, a program in which high-achieving college graduates work in low-income neighborhood schools. And the achievement district will not offer teachers tenure. ...