The Latest

2019 State Legislative Priorities

High Expectations for All Students
Protect rigorous K-12 academic standards that create high expectations for students and better prepare them for success in college, the workforce, or in the military.

Support investments into the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) program to ensure all students are on track for success.

Measuring What Matters
Support the implementation of an assessment aligned to the state’s K-12 academic standards to accurately measure student achievement.

Strong Accountability for the Classroom

Support an accountability system that incorporates student achievement and academic growth to improve instruction in the classroom.

Support efforts to ensure talented new educators and school leaders are recruited, trained, and supported throughout the state.

Support transparency and accountability by expanding the state’s A-F accountability framework to include summative ratings.

Support the current system for selecting members of the boards of education and local school superintendents.

Support strategies to increase access to effective teachers for all students.

Support investments into teacher preparation programs to ensure talented new educators are recruited, trained and supported throughout the state.  

Innovation in Education
Support strategies to turn-around and improve underperforming schools that have a demonstrated track record for improving student growth measures.

Support equitable access to resources for high quality charter schools.

Support strict accountability for charter schools by automatically revoking the charters of schools placed on the state’s priority school list and that have not demonstrated growth within a three-year period.

Support alternative charter school authorizers to promote innovation and increase the number of high-quality seats across Tennessee.

Securing Economic Freedom for All Tennesseans

Support career and technical education and early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) that prepare all students to thrive after high school and increase college credit-earning opportunities for high school students and help Tennessee meet its college complete goals.

Support strategies to increase the number of work-based learning programs throughout the state to connect high school students with both credit-earning opportunities and real-work experiences.

Support comprehensive K12 to postsecondary to industry pathways to provide students with opportunities aligned with workforce needs while increasing postsecondary degree and credential completion rates.

Support investments in higher education that increase college completion and improve affordability for students.

Tennesseans for Student Success Announces New Policy Principle

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success released their annual legislative priorities today and announced an additional policy principle focused on maintaining student success, economic freedom after graduation. 

“Tennesseans for Student Success strives to engage the state’s parents, teachers, and community leaders in a common goal of creating and supporting a public education system that prepares students for success after graduation from high school,” said President and CEO Adam Lister. “We frame our policy priorities around five key goals: high expectations for all students, measuring what matters, innovation in education, strong accountability in the classrooms, and securing economic freedom for all Tennesseans.” 

Lister continued: As Tennesseans for Student Success continues unrelenting advocacy in support of the policies most directly responsible for driving improvements in student achievement, we are also announcing an expansion of our mission. We will focus on protecting the opportunity of economic freedom for all Tennesseans through investment in expanded dual enrollment, work-based learning opportunities, technical training, and other strategies to increase the number students who can access, afford, and complete a post-secondary credential or degree. 

The policy principles are: 

High Expectations for All Students — Tennessee’s students will soon be competing for spots in colleges, for jobs, for placements in technical fields, and for prestigious positions in our Nation’s Armed Forces with students from across the country. We know our students can compete and succeed, but they can be better prepared. Whatever the path, students must be ready – on day one –to achieve, learn, and grow. High academic standards in today’s classrooms help make sure our students will be ready for tomorrow’s opportunities for success.

Measuring What Matters — Helping students be successful means that along with helping them learn the necessary skills to move from one grade to the next, we should work to make sure they know how to be successful in life after graduation. The work that is happening in our classrooms is far too important – with lasting implications – to take a “wait and see” approach to student success. Good tests, ones that accurately and fairly measure what our students know, where they are growing and achieving, and where they need more support, are critical in student success. Good tests are also critical to quality classroom instruction. A test aligned with high academic standards also aligns professional development opportunities for our teachers helping them focus their personal improvement in ways that further supports students.

Innovation in Education — When public education is free to innovate the results can be astounding. Classrooms can adapt, teachers can transform, and students can succeed. The opportunity to be innovative should be welcome in all Tennessee public schools. Public education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to student success. Many students, teachers, and classrooms flourish in traditional public school settings. For some, iZone schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, academy models, and alternative public-school settings are the answer for students to succeed. No matter how or where a student learns in Tennessee’s public schools, those schools must be able to adopt the best practices for innovation and student success.

Strong Accountability in the Classroom — From legislators to administrators, teachers and students, and parents and community volunteers, everyone is accountable for the success, growth, and achievement of Tennessee’s classrooms. How do we hold everyone accountable? We measure for success. Whether it’s student assessments, district report cards, teacher evaluations, or scorecards for legislators, we measure what we want to see improve. Then we report those measures, making sure the tools for growth are available and help every classroom succeed.

Securing Economic Freedom for All Tennesseans —We have advocated for higher, better academic standards which prepare students for success in a 21st century economy but to fully honor our promise to provide today’s students with an opportunity for success in the future, we must ensure all Tennessean are prepared for, can access, and complete a post-secondary credential or degree. Today, more than ever, Tennessee’s students have an opportunity to seamlessly transition from high school to college and career. As the global workforce continues to evolve, it is increasingly important to improve alignment among student instruction, teacher preparation, parent engagement, and the development of the necessary skills for future and current employees to help employers fill the available jobs and secure their own economic independence. We will accomplish these goals by pursuing policies that strengthen pathways to a post-secondary credential, increase retention and completion. 

Please click here for a comprehensive list of the 2019 Tennesseans for Student Success state legislative priorities. 

Weekly Update – February 4, 2019

Every few weeks, we like to jump into your inbox with a rundown of what’s happening in the education world in Tennessee. The highlights as follows:

– Governor Lee named Penny Schwinn as the state’s new Commission of Education. Our President and CEO had this to say about Schwinn’s appointment:

“I applaud Governor-Elect Lee for this important appointment and am encouraged by the deliberative and thoughtful approach to encouraging the best people, policies, and ideas to be at the table for every student in Tennessee. Schwinn has a track record of success in, Texas as the Texas Education Agency’s chief deputy commissioner of academics, turning around struggling schools in Delaware, and as an educator working to close the achievement gap for every student. Tennesseans for Student Success is encouraged that through her leadership and with Governor-Elect Lee, advancing opportunities for all of Tennessee’s students will be a top priority and we look forward to working with her.”

– Senator Dolores Gresham and Representative Mark White were named Chairmen of the Senate and House Education Committees, respectively. With bill filing deadline approaching this week, we look forward to continuing to engage with our elected officials. Are you signed up in our advocacy center? It’s free, easy-to-navigate, and a great tool for reaching out to the General Assembly.

– Do you know an educator who goes above and beyond for their students? We’re always on the lookout for ways to promote, encourage, and celebrate Tennessee’s outstanding teachers. Be the first to nominate a teacher for our Tennesseans for Student Success Teacher Advocate of the Month here. Whether you won or lost in last night’s Super Bowl (or are looking forward to pitchers and catchers reporting later this month), know you are our real MVP. We couldn’t do this work without you. Thanks for raising your voice for Tennessee’s kids.