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Legislative Update – Week of April 3rd, 2017

Whether you called, emailed, forwarded our weekly update, or shared a Facebook post, thank you. We often say that we can’t do this work of protecting and advancing student success without you. We mean every word! Thank you for the time you give to Tennessee’s kids.

Before we get to some great news (a sneak peek: several harmful education bills taken off notice!), we wanted to make sure you knew about House Bill 1312. By design, its title suggests it does one small thing – making it sound acceptable. But if it passed, this bill wouldn’t be good news for Tennessee’s classrooms.

We have to know how to get where we’re going -when we’re traveling, when we’re working, and when our kids are learning. Simply, there’s always a plan for success! We can’t wait until 3rd grade to know if our students are reading, achieving, and growing. HB 1312 would prohibit the optional, and often valuable, early grade assessments from taking place in any classroom in the state and set a precedent to exclude them in later grades. It is important to have an accountability system that supports academic growth for all our students. This legislation stands in the way of that growth.

Will you take a minute and email the House Education Instruction and Programs Subcommittee? Let them know you’d like them to vote no on HB 1312. Education, the work happening in our classrooms, is far too important to take away any optional tools teachers may use to determine if students are on a path to success by 3rd grade.

Now to the good news happening in the General Assembly!

Several of the bills we oppose were taken off notice. This means it isn’t likely that they will come up for a vote to move forward. These bills ranged from legislation to weaken our teachers’ evaluation system changing it from the current methodology-based format to politically popular, non-methodology based format to legislation to stop the work of the Achievement School District from making sure no child is stuck in a failing school. Thank you for reaching out on behalf of our students to stop these harmful bills.

We wanted to leave you with one small housekeeping note- we like to jump into your inbox once a week. As the legislative session draws nearer to its end, things will likely happen quickly. We’ll send out a legislative alert if any of our four policy principles are at stake. Make sure you’ve added us to your safe sender list and followed us on our social media feeds. We’ll be sure to give up-to-date information there, too.

We can’t speak for all of Tennessee’s classrooms, but we’re confident if we could they would join in our gratitude for what you do. Keep it up, we’re almost in the home stretch.

Weekly Update – Week of March 27, 2017

Good news! We’re sharing three great bills for student success that are on the Senate Education Committee’s calendar. Bad news? They are up with almost 100 other pieces of legislation in that committee and might not be heard this week, but we want to be sure you know when good things happen. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-date information.

Senate Bill 1196 / House Bill 309: Passing the House floor unanimously last week (did you see our statement on the passage?), this TNReady bill is ready to start the Senate process. SB 1196 highlights the Tennessee-specific standards aligned to the Tennessee-specific assessment given once a year. It adjusts how heavily TNReady will be weighted in teacher evaluations and how heavily it will be weighted in high school students’ final grades.

Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill.

Senate Bill 1198 / House Bill 308: Accountability is a key priority for us. We know that when everyone involved in the classroom is accountable for the growth, achievement, and success of that classroom, students, teachers, parents, administrators, and communities win. SB 1198 is a great step toward strengthening that accountability by requiring performance goals for schools and districts, allowing for student achievement and student growth to factor into the criteria for the priority list, clarifying the process for district-led interventions, and setting the time a school can stay in the Achievement School District.

Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill.

Senate Bill 1197 / House Bill 310: We believe in public school choice. We also believe in accountability. That’s we why support SB 1197 which provides funding for charter school facilities, establishes an authorizer fee charter schools would pay the district, clarifies the length a charter can operate, outlines the process for the loss of a charter school, and provides greater transparency around how public dollars are spent to support students. We believe in parents having choices in public education and we believe in accountability, transparency for success.

Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill.

We look forward to championing these three bills with you in the Senate Education Committee. They are strong pieces of legislation that uphold our priorities and support student success. We’re glad to support them.

Thanks for all you do to help us champion Tennessee’s kids.