NASHVILLE - Tennessee officials today submitted the state's application for $485 million in federal Race to the Top funds, beating the U.S. Department of Education's 4:30 p.m. EST deadline by some seven hours, according to a Bredesen administration spokeswoman.
Bredesen press secretary Lydia Lenker said in an e-mail the state's application was submitted at 9:40 a.m. One copy was hand-delivered while another was sent by Federal Express, she said.
"They both arrived within a five-minute window," Ms. Lenker said.
Gov. Phil Bredesen and state officials hope the state will win the competitively awarded grant, part of some $4 billion federal officials are awarding nationally to states creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.
At the governor's urging, Tennessee lawmakers last week met in special session and on Friday approved sweeping changes in teacher tenure law, requiring that 50 percent of teacher tenure and evaluations be based on student achievement data. The move was necessary to help the state compete, Gov. Bredesen said. The governor signed the bill Saturday.
Winners of Phase I of the federal competition, which had states nationwide scrambling to change their laws to be competitive, will be announced in April. Feedback will be provided to applicants who do not win and who are eligible to compete in Phase II.
President Obama announced Monday he will seek a $1.35 billion expansion of his signature Race to the Top initiative.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.