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Legislate Update – Week of April 24, 2017

The end to the first session of the 110th General Assembly is in sight. We’re already starting to look back at the bills, votes, and filings of this session, but before we get too far into the session retrospective, we wanted to make sure you knew about a few good things happening this week (and last).

House Bill 310 passed the House last week and is on its way through the Senate process. We’ve talked a lot about the Tennessee High-Quality Charter Schools Act and why we support its passage. Because a picture says a thousand words, and a video says even more, we wanted to make sure you’d seen our video featuring our Government Relations Director live from the House Chamber last week reporting on the passage of HB 310.

We appreciate the House members who supported HB 310 and voted to pass this commonsense legislation to ensure high quality, public school choices for Tennessee’s students. Will you join us in thanking HB 310’s sponsor Representative Harry Brooks? We’re big believers of praising the good and would love your help in doing just that. Send Representative Brooks an email and thank him for supporting all Tennessee’s students.

As session winds down, the Governor’s budget proposal ramps up. Throughout the coming weeks, you’ll hear from us (here and on our social feeds) regarding education amendments included in this year’s budget. We are especially excited to see this budget invest so heavily in education through an additional $180 million to fund the BEP. Out of those recurring dollars, $100 million is designated for instruction – such as increasing salaries or hiring new positions. Stay tuned for more information as we support this year’s budget.

Last, but certainly not least, Tristar Reads is back for another summer! We’ll be sharing more details next week, but feel free to check out the brand new Tristar Reads website, like the brand new social media channels, and share this program with the summer readers (K-12) in your life.

We say this a lot, and we’ll continue to mean it, but thank you. Thanks for all you do to make sure every student in Tennessee has an opportunity to succeed.

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 ( 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!

Legislative Update – Week of April 10, 2017

Easter is around the corner and we know things are probably hopping at your house, so we’ll quickly let you know what’s hatching this week. As always, let us know if you have any questions and we’ll make sure we get back to you and not lay an egg (we’re done with Easter puns now).

Some great news! Over the past several months, we’ve shared concerns about legislation that would be harmful to Tennessee classrooms and to student success.

We’re glad to let you know the following bills have been taken off notice and not expected to come up for a vote this session:

House Bill 354 – hamstring the work of the Achievement School District – taken off notice
House Bill 353 – prevent smart, planned growth of the ASD – taken off notice
House Bill 570 – introduce partisan politics to management of local school districts – taken off notice
House Bill 793 – limit the work to recruit and retain successful superintendents – taken off notice
House Bill 795 – establish untested process to review and potentially undermine the state’s accountability system – taken off notice
House Bill 1104 – prevent each student in Tennessee from a top-notch education and undermines the work of parents and teachers across the state to establish Tennessee-specific academic standards – taken off notice
House Bill 1129 – limit school board ability to address failing schools – taken off notice
House Bill 1312 – prevent measurement and growth of students in early grades – taken off notice

As you can see, it’s been a busy legislative session so far. We can’t thank you enough for your work in helping make sure these bills didn’t become law.

One last thing, House Bill 308 was up for a vote in the House tonight. We’re excited to let you know it’s now unanimously passed both the House and Senate, and is on the way to the Governor for his signature. We’re in favor of this legislation and are encouraged by the efforts to strengthen accountability for everyone involved in the classroom.

Thanks for all you continue to do for Tennessee’s students. We hope you have a egg-stra  special Easter!