Category: Advocacy & Policy

Legislative Update – March 12, 2018

We’re on the lookout for a lost hour. If you find it, will you let us know?

While you’re looking, we’d like to share a few bills that are up this week in the Tennessee General Assembly. Curious where previously mentioned bills are in the process? Stay tuned for a recap to come next week.

House Resolution 192/Senate Resolution 158 (Hawk/Norris) – Helping every district in the state, this resolution is required in order to recognize additional Response to Instruction and Intervention funding for instructors as a continual component of the Basic Education Program (BEP). Tennesseans for Student Success supports this resolution to help ensure all students have access to the best strategies to keep them on track for success.

House Bill 1694/Senate Bill 1629 (Smith/Gresham)  – Everyone involved in the classroom must be accountable for the success of that classroom. That’s one of the reasons Tennesseans for Student Success supports HB 1694/SB 1629. This bill would require teacher preparation programs to offer remediation services for underperforming graduates and will help ensure teacher preparation programs work collaboratively with school districts so that all teachers have the tools they need for success in the classroom.

House Bill 1870/Senate Bill 1901 (Dunn/Gresham) – We believe in public school choice because every option for success should be available for every student in Tennessee. HB 1870 requires districts to include all students, including those attending public charter schools, when applying for reimbursement funds. It also allows public charter schools to participate in special education services in partnership with nearby schools. Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill so that public charter schools are given available resources to best help all students on their pathway to success.

Our #LearnInThree series continued this weekend with another video featuring Grant Minchew, our Government Relations Director. Take a few minutes and watch as Grant walks us through the state’s yearly assessment. Don’t forget to share it with your networks!

Missing hour or not, thanks for all you do to pack 24 hours of student success into 23 this week!

Legislative Update – March 5th, 2018

Did you catch our new video on Facebook or Twitter?

Last week, we launched a new four-week series called #LearnInThree where we take one of our policy priorities, one of our TSS staffers, and one camera. Three minutes later, we’ve broken down some of the big ideas in education reform. We’ll post these four videos on Saturdays in March. We hope you’ll watch and share them with your networks!

Up this week in the General Assembly? Two bills we’re supporting and one we oppose. We also want to extend a big thank you to all of you who contacted your elected officials last week. Keep your eye on our new voter engagement platform – we’ll post new bills throughout the session. Thank you!

House Bill 2030 / Senate Bill 1975 (Forgety/Gardenhire) – We talk a lot here about increasing the opportunities for our high school students to get hands-on, real-world experience in their chosen fields. Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSOs) and dual enrollment courses are a great way for students to get a head start on their next steps toward success. This legislation would provide EPSOs for students interested in working in advanced integrated industrial technology. Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill and all opportunities that help our students be ready for success.

House Bill 2525 / Senate Bill 2399 (Beck/Kyle) – You’ve heard us say before that politics should stop at a school’s front door and we will always fight politically-motivated legislation that threatens Tennessee’s academic progress. This bill would prevent some public charter schools from receiving the information necessary to help inform parents of public choices available for their children. Tennesseans for Student Success opposes this bill.

Mentioned last week and up in the General Assembly this week:

House Bill 1599 / Senate Bill 1649 (Forgety/Norris) – Like HB 2030, this legislation would improve student access to career and technical education through a high-quality, work-based learning system. By incentivizing business to provide these experiences and clarifying that participating students are covered under the school district’s liability insurance, more students will have access to EPSOs. Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill.

We say it often, and we mean it more with each passing week – thank you for being invested in the success of every Tennessee student. We couldn’t do this work without you.

2018 Legislative Agenda

Policy Principles

Tennesseans for Student Success strives to engage the state’s parents, teachers, and community leaders in the common goal of creating and supporting a public educational system that prepares students for success following graduation from high school. We frame our policy priorities around four key goals:

High Academic Standards — Tennessee’s students will soon be competing with students from across the country for spots in colleges and universities, for jobs, for placements in technical fields, and for prestigious positions in our nation’s Armed Forces. We know our students can compete and succeed, but they can also be better prepared. High academic standards aren’t about fitting more instruction into a school year or making sure every box gets checked on our educational goals. High academic standards are about expecting more from our students, our teachers, our parents, and ourselves.

Fewer, better tests — Helping students to be successful means that, along with helping them develop the necessary skills to move from one grade to the next, we must work to ensure that they know how to be successful in life after graduation. Whether in college, at a job, or as they file their taxes each year, there will be moments when they have to demonstrate their competence. It is a disservice to bring students through the educational system with the belief that they will never have to show their grasp of a subject or an idea. Simply put, tests are part of life, although for adults, they’ll take on different forms and won’t be graded in red ink. Thus, they have a rightful place in the classroom.

Greater Accountability — Public education is a public good – and a great public good at that! As we work together to protect and advance the gains made in Tennessee, we will maintain our commitment to holding all those involved accountable for our children’s success.

Public School Choice — More than an elected official, more than a school administrator, parents engaged in their child’s education know best the right setting where their child can reach his or her full potential. For many, success in the classroom comes in a traditional school setting. For other students, more focus is needed in a certain discipline or subject. The goal for education advocates in Tennessee isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to student achievement. Every child in Tennessee deserves a top-notch education that prepares her or him for success in the 21st century.

2018 State Legislative Priorities

High Academic Standards
– Support rigorous K–12 academic standards that create high expectations for all students and better prepare them for postsecondary academic or career options.

– Support career and technical education or early postsecondary opportunities that prepare all students to thrive after high school.

– Support investments into the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) program to ensure that all students are on track to succeed.

Fewer but Better Aligned Tests
– Support an assessment aligned with the state’s K–12 academic standards to accurately measure student achievement.

–Support fewer, better tests as a strategy to increase classroom instructional time.

Strong Accountability in Every Classroom
– Support an accountability system that incorporates student achievement and academic growth to improve instruction in the classroom.

– Support efforts to ensure that talented new educators are recruited, trained, and supported throughout the state. 

– Oppose efforts to repeal Tennessee’s new A–F school accountability framework.

– Support the current system for selecting members of boards of education and local school superintendents.

– Support strategies to increase access to effective teachers for all students.

Public School Choice
– Support strategies with a demonstrated track record for improving student growth measures to turn around and improve underperforming schools.

– Support equitable access to resources for high-quality charter schools.

Legislative Update – February 12, 2018

In honor of Cupid, and in no particular order, here is a list of things we love this week:

♥ More money for education. The Governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018-19 contains another year of good news for Tennessee’s classrooms. If the budget is approved, $211.8 million will be invested in education. We’re excited to see more than $55 million of that new funding marked for teacher salaries. There’s also an additional $13 million into the Basic Education Program to support Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2), supporting students’ individual learning needs. In addition, there will be $6 million to support public charter school facilities.

♥ Great teachers in every classroom. House Bill 1549 would remove red tape from our local school districts, allowing them to attract and retain high-quality teachers from outside of the state. Tennesseans for Student Success supports HB 1549 because we know that having high-quality teachers in our classrooms is the number one factor in student success.

♥ Raising your voice. This week we’re thrilled to host teachers, students, and advocates from across the state for our inaugural Tennesseans for Student Success Day on the Hill. They’ll meet elected officials, network with education leaders, and learn how to raise their voice for Tennessee’s students. Registration for this year’s event is closed, but we hope you’ll follow along at #EdVoices18.

♥ Preparing students for tomorrow’s success, today. February is Career and Technical Education month, and we are proud to be supporting House Bill 1569 as it enables more students to take advantage of CTE courses. Extended career and technical education class sizes for high school students mean more of our graduates will be prepared for success. Tennesseans for Student Success supports HB 1569 and applauds the work to make sure every student is on track for success.

♥ The Olympics. What can we say? We love championing success. Make sure you’re following our social feeds to see our daily Gold Medal for Education. And up-to-date information on bills up this week, committees, and other good things happening in education across the state.

We couldn’t conclude our legislative update for Valentine’s Week without telling you how much we love the support and encouragement you give to Tennessee’s classrooms. We couldn’t do this without you.