"Although little overall change is detected, some states have made remarkable strides forward. Tennessee is the most outstanding example. Having been graded an F in every previous report, it made the astounding jump to a straight A in 2011. In 2007, the state of Tennessee recognized that its academic standards were much too lax and that schools were not encouraged to provide students with the skills necessary to compete in the modern job market. With the support of his state department of education and board of education, then governor Phil Bredesen led a concerted, highly publicized effort to revamp the state standards. As a result, state tests were made much more challenging and the percentage of students identified as proficient dropped from 90 percent or more to around 50 percent, a candid admission of the challenges the Tennessee schools faced. The remarkable transition in Tennessee shows that states are capable of dramatic reform when the political leadership is committed to focusing public attention on the problem."