February 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s signature schools initiative. This is the story of what happened in Tennessee, where a bright and shiny education-reform plan got tarnished beyond recognition.
This project began in 2015 as random thoughts scribbled on Post-it Notes. Eventually, it grew into a nearly 16,000-word retrospective, with excerpts published by Chalkbeat and education historian Diane Ravitch. And it earned shout-outs by the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss and POLITICO. The author is grateful to the experts (you know who you are) who helped bring it to fruition.