Memphis school district a finalist for Gates Foundation money

Memphis Appeal:

Memphis City Schools is one of 10 districts being considered for millions of dollars over five years to improve teacher quality, including exit strategies for those who don’t make the grade.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has set aside $500 million to study what makes an effective teacher, create ways to develop more and set up meaningful rewards, which could include merit pay.
Four winners will be announced in mid-August.
A delegation from Memphis, including Supt. Kriner Cash, school board president Tomeka Hart and Stephanie Fitzgerald, president of the Memphis Education Association, is in Atlanta discussing options with foundation members through today.
“The focus is very clear. The Gates are looking for how you keep excellent teachers and new ways to begin measuring their effectiveness,” Cash said. “The work will also include an exit strategy for teachers who are not as satisfactory.”
Gates — the biggest private source of money for education reform in the nation — invited 30 districts to submit applications. Memphis made the cut after foundation officials visited several days late this winter and invited district leaders to Atlanta as a semifinalist.