From The Press

Inside TNSuccess: February 24

TN Legislative Corner

The House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Subcommittee (CTI) amended HB 1687/SB 1735, which proposed to eliminate academic standards for science and social studies in kindergarten through grade two. After concerns were expressed about the legislation as introduced, the State Board of Education helped to clarify the difference between standards and curriculum and provided historical context for this conversation.

The amended language, offered by Speaker Pro Tem Dunn, maintains current K-2 standards and empowers Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement instructional programs that promote individual teacher creativity and autonomy, and incorporate science and social studies concepts into the English Language Arts instruction. TSS appreciates Rep. Cepicky and committee members for taking the time to review feedback and doing the hard work necessary to find solutions that put students first.

The committee process is a great opportunity to use your voice to influence state policy that impacts students. Please take a moment to email members of the Education CTI subcommittee thanking them for prioritizing a student-based agenda that continuously improves all aspects of public education.

Track progress on other education bills last week here.

For a complete list of education legislation filed by the 111th 2019-2020 General Assembly, click here.


#CTEMonth and How TN Students are Impacted

This week’s blog on CTE month comes from our Policy and Outreach Manager, Jessica Whitmill. Jessica recounts her travels through the state and how different districts and schools are preparing students for college and career through hands-on learning and technical education. She talks about several different schools and the teachers that are making sizeable impacts on students across the state. 

Read our latest blog here


ICYMI: State Board of Education Releases Preparation Report Card

Recently, the Tennessee State Board of Education released its Education Preparation Report Card, which is a useful tool to find information on educator preparation programs in the state to ensure every student has a well-prepared teacher. Additionally, it’s helpful for teachers to have guidance on the teacher prep programs they could apply to around the state. 

Click here to see how well TN prep programs performed.


Speaking of educator prep programs, a group of students from Freed-Hardeman University’s Teacher Education Program joined us for our Day on the Hill this month. These students engaged with different legislators on education issues, the legislative process, and how legislators got to where they are today. Check out a few photos from their visit below. 

Calendar of Events

February 25th10:30AM: House Higher Education Subcommittee

      12:00PM: House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Committee

      4:30PM: House K-12 Subcommittee 

February 26th – 9:00AM: House Education Committee

 2:30PM: Senate Education Committee

February 27th – Digital Learning Day


In Case You Missed It…

Inside TNSuccess: February 17

TN Legislative Corner

Last week, TSS held our third annual Day on the Hill, which was a rousing success. Around 65 advocates, students, parents, and teachers with diverse backgrounds were in attendance to advocate for the success of all students in the state of Tennessee. We’re grateful for every legislator and thought leader who was able to meet with us and share about the work they’re doing to improve our state. Read below to hear more about the event. 

The House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Subcommittee (CTI) heard testimonies from several teachers on HB 1687/SB 1735. This bill proposes to eliminate academic standards for science and social studies in kindergarten through grade two. These teachers weighed in and highlighted the importance of maintaining high standards and the current flexibility that exists to incorporate multiple standards into literacy instruction. The concerns expressed by committee members reinforce that we all agree on improving educational outcomes for students, particularly building a strong foundation in early literacy, is an urgent matter. We oppose this bill because eliminating will not solve this challenge. CTI ran out of time and will continue this important debate on Tuesday.

Please take a moment to email members of the CTI subcommittee about the importance of academic standards for early grades today.

Watch Mary Owen Holmes, a high school history teacher from Nashville, testify her opposition to this bill. Take a look at a screen recording of her opening remarks here

There was some movement on quite a few education bills last week and we expect the next several weeks to be busy with about a month left for committee work. Catch up on committee action on education bills here.

In other Tennessee news, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill to officially recognize Tennessee as the “Volunteer State!”  For a complete list of education legislation filed by the 111th 2019-2020 General Assembly, click here.


A Successful TSS Day on the Hill 

Our #TSSDayontheHill2020 was quite a success, and we want to thank every person that was involved! We were thrilled to bring educators, advocates, and students from around the state to visit the Tennessee State Capitol to talk with Tennessee lawmakers about the great things happening in our schools and how we can work together to ensure every student has an opportunity to a great public education.  

Couldn’t make our Day on the Hill? Be a part of Tennesseans across the state raising their voice for students. We’ve created an easy way for you to contact your elected officials. Take a look around our site for advocacy and policy engagement, get signed up, and share your support.

Read our full statement on the day from President and CEO Adam Lister here


Protecting Accountability with Mrs. Marshall

For students to succeed, there must be accountability for everyone involved in the classroom. How do we hold everyone accountable? We measure success. Whether it’s student assessments, district report cards, teacher evaluations, or scorecards for legislators, we measure what we want to improve. Then we report those measures accurately and transparently, ensuring the tools for growth are available, and the focus remains on improving outcomes for students.

Mrs. Tameka Marshall, a third-grade teacher from Norman Binkley Elementary School, shares about the impact accountability has on the measurements and metrics used to capture growth among her students. Click here to watch the video. 


Hearing from Student’s About #CTEMonth 

The students featured below are just a few of the individuals we’ve spoken with this month on the impact their CTE program has had on their preparedness for their future. These students are excited about learning and the opportunities that are ahead of them.

From left to right: Nick is in the culinary arts program at Nashville State Community College in Nashville. Austin is in the robotics program at Cleveland High School in Cleveland. Andreya is in the therapeutic services program at West Creek High School in Clarksville. 


Calendar of Events

February 19th – President’s Day [State Offices Closed]

February 18th10:30AM: House Higher Education Subcommittee

      12:00PM: House Curriculum, Testing, & Innovation Committee

      4:30PM: House K-12 Subcommittee 

February 19th9:00AM: House Education Committee3:00PM: Senate Education Committee


In Case You Missed It…

TSS Policy Priorities: Why Protecting Accountability Matters

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success is beginning the 2020 legislative session by outlining our policy pillars and how they affect student success. Read about our pillars here.

Why Protecting Accountability Matters: 

For students to succeed, there must be accountability for everyone involved in the classroom. From legislators to administrators, teachers and students, parents and, community volunteers, everyone has some responsibility for and contributes to the success, growth, and achievement of Tennessee’s students.

How do we hold everyone accountable? We measure success. Whether it’s student assessments, district report cards, teacher evaluations, or scorecards for legislators, we measure what we want to improve. Then we report those measures accurately and transparently, ensuring the tools for growth are available, and the focus remains on improving outcomes for students.

Mrs. Tameka Marshall, a third-grade teacher from Norman Binkley Elementary School, shares about the impact accountability has on the measurements and metrics used to capture growth among her students. Do you support good accountability systems in your schools? Let us know here.

Click here to watch the video.

Click here to watch Mr. Troy talk about aligned assessments.

To continue the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #TSSPriorities.

TSS Statement on Day on the Hill 2020

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success held our third annual Day on the Hill at the Tennessee State Capitol. Around 65 educators, students, and advocates with diverse backgrounds from around the state gathered to meet with legislators and learn about the work they are doing to improve student achievement. Advocates were able to hear from legislators as well as the Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and the Tennessee Department of Education.

Please see the following statement from our President and CEO Adam Lister:

“Today’s annual Day on the Hill helped to support success for Tennessee’s students by demonstrating for legislators a commitment from Tennesseans to be a voice, loud and clear, for better public schools. This year’s event was our largest yet. It represented a sustained interest in the policies we support and a growing commitment for stakeholders at every level to engage on the frontlines and in the legislative process. Ensuring every student, no matter their zip code, has an equal opportunity to receive a high-quality education that prepares them for their future is critical for the long-term success of the future generation.”

To learn more about our policy priorities, visit our website here.