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Weekly Update – July 30, 2018

In no particular order, we wanted to bring you three things this week we’re sure you will enjoy.

-It’s almost Election Day for the August Primaries. Tennessee is last in voter participation, and that’s a trend to turn around. Here’s a link to find your local polling place. The last day to vote early was Saturday, so if you need to vote, you’ll cast your ballot on Election Day. Looking for information on whether your elected official voted to support student success? Here’s our 2017 and 2018 TNSuccessCard Scorecard. We hope it’s a useful tool as you raise your voice for Tennessee’s students.

-The 2017-18 TNReady results were recently announced. We wanted to share with you our response to those results:

“Through bills, legislation, amendments, and statutes, the framework for student success is in place in Tennessee. It’s clear that high academic standards, an assessment aligned to those standards, more choices in public education, and accountability for student success have been a driver for student growth and achievement.

“By closing the achievement gap, strengthening literacy, and seeing growth in historically underserved groups, this week’s TNReady results prove that the progress is on the move.

“There is still work to be done to make sure every student in Tennessee has an opportunity to succeed and reach the goals, achievements set out for their success. It’s time for everyone involved in the classroom – from local school districts to administrators, elected officials to educations – to continue to implement, with fidelity, the student-centered reforms responsible for Tennessee’s growth.”

-There’s still a month left in our summer reading and scholarship program. Tristar Reads is up and running, and still taking participants! Any Tennessee student heading into or coming out of Kindergarten-12th grade is eligible to participate. Head to for more information, to sign up, to log your reader’s hours, or see how we award our three $1,000 college scholarships!

Thanks for all you do for Tennessee’s students, teachers, and classrooms. We’re grateful to be in this work with you.

Voters Can Help Further Education Success

Every two years, we gather at our polling locations and choose the men and women who will lead our state, craft our budgets, and chart a course for our future. It is important work we do to choose those leaders, and all of it hinges on a citizenry that not only is informed on the issues but knows where those seeking to represent them stand on those issues.

There is no more important issue than public education.

For the second year, Tennesseans for Student Success has released a Legislative TNSuccessCard Scorecard. Giving to you the information you need in a clear and transparent way, the TNSuccessCard is a helpful and concise tool for understanding how and where our legislature supports one of the single greatest issues of our time.

By supporting and implementing four main policy priorities (high academic standards, an aligned assessment, more choices in public education, and accountability for everyone involved in the classroom), the Tennessee General Assembly has, thankfully, signaled to all of us that we will carry out the important work necessary for ongoing student success. The work of the past few years has resulted in numerous accolade for our students, teachers, and districts.

When it comes to improving public education, we’re a state on the rise and a model for the nation.

This success is something you champion as well. Over the past 14 months, we’ve conducted a large-scale outreach effort and spoken with over 140,000 Tennesseans. Among likely voters, 25% believe improving public education is a top priority, while everyone we spoke with ranks “improving public education” as one of their top three issues this year. That’s why we created the TNSuccessCard and know it will be a helpful tool for making an informed, engaged electoral choice.

Our classrooms deserve elected officials who advocate for student success. Whether by sponsoring legislation, pushing back against harmful amendments, or by serving as a strong, consistent voice for the policies that have led to Tennessee’s rise in nationwide rankings, the people we send to Nashville must send a clear signal that improving public education for all Tennessee students is their top priority. There will be many conversations and choices to bring us winning candidates in November. We are confident that when evaluating the work of our elected officials openly and honestly, and placing a priority on the issue that matters most in our great state, Tennessee’s students will be the ultimate winners.

This article first appeared in The Tennessean on July 10th, 2018.
By Adam Lister