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Legislative Update – March 19, 2018

Much like March Madness, to advance on in the legislative process, a bill has to keep winning support. Unlike March Madness, a bill’s supporters don’t all have to wear the same jerseys. In the spirit of all things bracket, we thought we’d give an update on the bills we’ve mentioned so far this year.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or visit our advocacy tool to write your legislators!

House Bill 1549/Senate Bill 1804 (Terry/Ketron) – Helping clear the way for high-quality teachers to come and stay in our classrooms, Tennesseans for Student Success supported this bill. We’re proud to say it passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor for his signature.

House Bill 67/Senate Bill 250 (Smith/Gresham) – This legislation requires school districts to use alternative growth models to demonstrate their students’ growth. We supported it, the House and Senate passed it, and it was signed into law by the Governor.

House Bill 1569/Senate Bill 1691 (Brooks, H/Lundberg) – We are strong proponents of Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes and of Tennessee’s students learning skills today that will help them tomorrow. This bill creates greater access to CTE courses in high school. We support HB 1569. It has passed the House and is working its way through the Senate process.

House Bill 1599/Senate Bill 1649 (Forgety/Norris) – This legislation incentivizes Tennessee’s businesses to participate in work-based learning partnerships with local school districts. We are proud to support HB 1599 as it works its way through both the House and Senate chambers.

House Bill 1870/Senate Bill 1901 (Dunn/Gresham) – Education isn’t one-size-fits-all, and this legislation provides that charter schools are given equitable access to resources intended to support the special education services they provide. We support HB 1870 as it works its way through both the House and Senate chambers.

House Bill 2203/Senate Bill 2589 (Byrd/Hensley) – This legislation removed annual assessments for many subjects and grades, preventing teachers, parents, and students from being able to utilize information from the assessment for student success. We’re happy to report this legislation has been taken off notice and will not be moving forward.

House Bill 1609/Senate Bill 2575 (Hill, M./Hensley) – Another politically-motivated and short-sided bill, this legislation would have ushered in a national assessment and throw out the statewide work to establish a Tennessee-specific assessment. This legislation failed in the Education Instruction and Programs Subcommittee and therefore will not advance.

House Bill 2030/Senate Bill 1975 (Forgety/Gardenhire) – We support this bill as it seeks to increase opportunities for more students to participate in dual credit or dual enrollment courses. It has passed the Senate Education Committee and is up for a vote next week in the Education Instruction and Programs Committee in the House.

House Bill 2525/Senate Bill 2399 (Beck/Kyle) – You’ve heard us say before that politics should stop at a school’s front door and we will always fight politically-motivated legislation that threatens Tennessee’s academic progress. This bill would block some public charter schools from receiving the information necessary to help inform parents of public choices available for their children. This bill is up in House and Senate committees.

House Resolution 192/Senate Resolution 158 (Hawk/Norris) – While these resolutions won’t travel concurrently like the bills listed above, they are both up for votes in various committees next week. We support these resolutions as they confirm changes in the state’s education funding formula, the BEP, and provide additional RTI2 funding for instructors.

House Bill 1694/Senate Bill 1629 (Smith/Gresham) – A bill to help make certain everyone involved in teacher training programs is accountable for student success, we support HB 1694 as it works through both chambers.

House Bill 1870/Senate Bill 1901 (Dunn/Gresham) – This legislation makes sure there’s equity in different types of public school by providing options to apply for reimbursement of certain high-cost special education services. We support this bill as it moves through both chambers.

We’ll be back next week with a current look at what’s up for a vote. Thanks for being engaged in the legislation that affects Tennessee’s students! We’d award you a free win on your March Madness bracket if we could.

Legislative Update – March 12, 2018

We’re on the lookout for a lost hour. If you find it, will you let us know?

While you’re looking, we’d like to share a few bills that are up this week in the Tennessee General Assembly. Curious where previously mentioned bills are in the process? Stay tuned for a recap to come next week.

House Resolution 192/Senate Resolution 158 (Hawk/Norris) – Helping every district in the state, this resolution is required in order to recognize additional Response to Instruction and Intervention funding for instructors as a continual component of the Basic Education Program (BEP). Tennesseans for Student Success supports this resolution to help ensure all students have access to the best strategies to keep them on track for success.

House Bill 1694/Senate Bill 1629 (Smith/Gresham)  – Everyone involved in the classroom must be accountable for the success of that classroom. That’s one of the reasons Tennesseans for Student Success supports HB 1694/SB 1629. This bill would require teacher preparation programs to offer remediation services for underperforming graduates and will help ensure teacher preparation programs work collaboratively with school districts so that all teachers have the tools they need for success in the classroom.

House Bill 1870/Senate Bill 1901 (Dunn/Gresham) – We believe in public school choice because every option for success should be available for every student in Tennessee. HB 1870 requires districts to include all students, including those attending public charter schools, when applying for reimbursement funds. It also allows public charter schools to participate in special education services in partnership with nearby schools. Tennesseans for Student Success supports this bill so that public charter schools are given available resources to best help all students on their pathway to success.

Our #LearnInThree series continued this weekend with another video featuring Grant Minchew, our Government Relations Director. Take a few minutes and watch as Grant walks us through the state’s yearly assessment. Don’t forget to share it with your networks!

Missing hour or not, thanks for all you do to pack 24 hours of student success into 23 this week!

Tennesseans for Student Success Releases Statewide Polling

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success released today the most recent results from their ongoing voter outreach program.
“Through a yearlong targeted and sustained outreach project, unique from other advocacy organizations in this state, we’ve talked to and surveyed over 135,000 Tennesseans. We asked them to share their thoughts on education, the state’s direction, and if candidates for public office are aligned with their views,” said Adam Lister, President and CEO of Tennesseans for Student Success.

Lister continued: “Over and over again, Tennesseans – across all demographic categories including political ideology, geography, age, or gender – said the same thing: education is a top priority for Tennessee’s elected officials and must be a top priority for any candidate they would support for public office. When asked, voters continue to overwhelmingly support the four policy priorities credited with Tennessee becoming the fastest improving state in the nation in education: high academic standards, an assessment aligned to those standards, accountability in the classroom, and public school choice.”

Tennesseans for Student Success has engaged in this sustained effort to ensure trends in voter interest for various policy issues is accurately measured and not significantly impacted by current political activity or the news of the day. Similar to traditional polls that look to test voter preference or passions, this month-long survey reflects a snapshot in time and reflects voter preference at the time it was conducted. External factors, events, or candidate activity can impact results. Surveying registered voters, 3400 respondents (MoE of 1.7%) from February 1 – March 3, 2018, Tennesseans for Student Success found when surveying Democrats, Republicans, and Independents:

Support high standards: 65%
Support yearly assessment: 70%
Support accountability in the classroom: 79%
Support public school choice: 68%

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Trump is doing?

Approve 51%
Disapprove 42%
No opinion or never heard of 7%
Total 100%

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Vice President Mike Pence is doing?

Approve 52%
Disapprove 34%
No opinion or never heard of 14%
Total 100%

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Bill Haslam is doing?

Approve 57%
Disapprove 24%
No opinion or never heard of 18%
Total 100%

When surveying voters of the Republican and Democrat parties:
Q. If the Republican Primary for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?

Randy Boyd 20%
Diane Black 14%
Bill Lee 10%
Beth Harwell 8%
Undecided 48%
Total 100%

Q. If the Democrat Primary for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?

Dean 32%
Fitzhugh 6%
Undecided 62%
Total 100%

Lister: “Education – and the continuation of the right policies and principles that help keep Tennessee’s students on track for success – is a top priority for voters in this state and as they look to elect a new Governor and General Assembly, we will continue our advocacy by encouraging voters to demand their leaders stand up for student success.”

For more information: FebMar_Statewide Large Sample_PublicFebMar_Dem Topline Report_PublicFebMar_GOP Topline Report_PublicEndofMonth_Statewide Report_Public.