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Legislative Update – Week of April 17, 2017

Three Things Monday. (Sounds like a good idea for a new hashtag!) We’ll be quick this week with three highlights from our work to protect and advance student success in Tennessee.

1) In classrooms across the state, the window for TNReady is open! From today to May 7th, during specific school district testing times, Tennessee’s 3rd – 8th graders will pick up their pencils and papers to show us what they’ve mastered all year. Many of our high school students will be testing, too.

We’re sharing tips for teachers, parents, and students on our social feeds. We hope you’ll share these with those in the TNReady window in your life. Feel free to drop us a note for more details regarding specific testing times for your district. 

2) In case you missed it last week, House Bill 308 passed both chambers and is on the way to the Governor’s desk to become law. HB 308 is a great step toward strengthening 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.

We look forward to seeing how HB 308, and other bills, helps every student in Tennessee have a greater opportunity to succeed. 

3) House Bill 310 will be heard in the House this week. We’re in support of HB 310 because we believe it will help to ensure high quality schools for every Tennessee student. It also makes certain local school districts are reimbursed for the administrative costs they incur while authorizing and managing charter schools within their districts. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for information as it happens.

You are always welcome to join us at the General Assembly! Email us (info@tnsuccess.org) if you’d like to be a part of the action this week and we’ll make it happen. 

One last thing (so Four Things Monday!). We’re gearing up for another great summer of Tristar Reads! There are some big changes to Tristar Reads this year and we can’t wait to tell you about them. Stay tuned!

Weekly Update- Week of August 22, 2016
For many, August is a time to get back in the swing of things, set goals, and hit the ground running.

We’ve done just that these last few weeks and before Tennesseans went to the polls, we spent the summer talking to voters about education, commonsense education reforms, and supporters of education in districts across the state. We wanted to share a few words from our post-election recap (full text here) and thank you for taking on the fight for student success with us.

“Every election day brings the possibility of changing course in the General Assembly. As Tennessee’s students, teachers, parents, administrators, community leaders, and education advocates continue their work to make sure every child in the state has the opportunity to succeed, it is paramount Nashville stay focused on student success. Tennessee kids are the fastest improving in the nation in education and every elected official must be committed to that work…

“As we celebrate the victories of Senator Dolores Gresham, Senator Steve Dickerson, Representative Charles Sargent, Representative Jon Lundberg, and Representative John DeBerry we are grateful voters considered the message of student-centered, commonsense education reform and voted for what’s best for their children, their teachers, their classrooms, and their futures.”

Last week, the state Department of Education published results from their annual Tennessee Educator Survey. You’ve heard us say time and time again that accountability in the classroom means everyone in the classroom is accountable for student success. We were encouraged to hear that an overwhelming number of Tennessee’s teachers felt the same way. Here’s a link to the full survey. We wanted to share the statement we gave last week as a reminder that we will continue to be engaged in the work to make sure Tennessee’s classrooms are ready for success.

“Yesterday’s release of the 2016 Tennessee Educator Survey highlights another piece of Tennessee’s historic student achievement gains – when there is accountability for all involved in our classrooms, all involved in our classrooms find success.

“More than 30,000 educators completed the Survey, now in its sixth year, and the results showcase the value teachers place in Tennessee’s statewide evaluation system to not only give them a snapshot of their own success in the classroom, but to offer real opportunity to grow in their profession. Accountability in the classroom cannot exist for its own sake, but as a tool to encourage, enhance, and direct student success.

“More than 2/3rds of educators offered the accountability system as a reason for improvements in teaching and student learning. Perhaps more encouragingly, 71% of teachers mentioned the accountability system as the reason for improvement in their teaching strategies. Nearly all teachers receiving feedback from the state’s evaluation process recalled an improvement in their teaching as a result and 90 percent of teachers report that their school leaders protect their instructional time.

Tennessee’s teachers are a key piece to student success and no reform can exist without their engagement and support. The Tennessee Educator Survey ensures our teachers’ voices and perceptions on education reforms and policies are heard.”