May 16, 2022
The shared success of the Tennessee Investment in Student Success Act (TISA), now signed into law, predominated the 2022 legislative session. TSS would like to take the opportunity to highlight other important legislative initiatives as they relate to our policy priorities. The forthcoming 2022 SuccessCard will feature legislator-specific performance indicators, categorized by these policy priorities. Also highlighted, are initiatives warranting continued effort, which we hope to see revisited next session.
HB2143/SB2396 – TISA Act – Previous coverage of TISA details how this new student-based formula will infuse a historic increase in funding to public schools across the state. TISA will have increased spending flexibility and accountability at both the local and state level. TSS will continue to share rulemaking updates as they become available in the coming months.
HB0757/SB0918 – Learning Loss Bootcamps – Passage of this bill brings needed clarification of the availability of summer learning loss bootcamps available to public school students, including those enrolled in public charter schools. Learning loss bootcamps are intended to help students recover from pandemic-related instructional disruption.
HB2163/SB2413 – Reading Instruction Curriculum Alignment – Educator preparation programs must demonstrate that graduates have mastered basic literacy instruction skills or create a remediation plan to bring curriculum into alignment with current state literacy standards. Enhances Tennessee Literacy Success Act of 2021 to improve teacher training in reading instruction.
HB2153/SB2406 – Computer Science Curriculum Expansion – Administration bill from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) to increase access to computer science curriculum statewide. By the 2023-2024 academic year, the Tennessee State Board of Education must adopt comprehensive curriculum standards for computer science. By the 2024-2025 school year, all high school students will be required to complete one year of computer science curriculum to graduate. Doing so will ensure that students are better prepared for both college and career opportunities.
HB2429/SB2498 – Industry 4.0 Diploma – Creation of a new technical diploma for high school graduates. This new credential will give more flexibility for work-based learning and dual-enrollment coursework. This legislation will create more intentional school to career pipelines, decreasing vocational and technical skills gaps statewide.
HB2774/SB2389 – More Opportunities for Students in Tennessee (MOST) Act – Legislative action is needed to distribute available federal ESSR dollars as grants to students and families across the state to cover resources needed to combat learning loss due to the pandemic. Federal legislation requires ESSR dollars to be distributed towards expenses such as tutoring, adaptive technology, instructional materials, childcare, and therapy services. This is a missed opportunity to meet the needs of students statewide with readily available funds.
HB2468/SB1831 – Charter School Administration – This legislation attempted to codify many issues related to the administration of charter schools. Namely, the legislation attempted to limit the admission of out of district students to 25% enrollment. This is far below the national average. Nationally, most states allow open enrollment at charter schools. Another provision would specify weights within admission lotteries, giving more opportunity to economically disadvantaged students.
HB591/SB1134 – Vacant and Underutilized Facilities – Quality school facilities are directly linked to student performance. This legislation would make explicit the meaning of vacant and underutilized facilities and allow for audits of available facilities at the state level. Charters would be able to purchase or rent facilities at or below market value in agreement with local school districts. Continued discussion is needed for equitable access to facilities, facilities-related local revenue, and affordable financing options.
HB2294/SB2174 – Middle School Financial Literacy – This legislation would have encouraged schools to offer financial literacy coursework to students in grades six through eight. Doing so will allow students to start understanding the importance of being financially responsible, as they pursue college and career interests in high school and later in life.
HB1862/SB1815* – Test Optional Admission – The pandemic disrupted college admission testing availability, leading most public higher education institutions to waive testing requirements for admission. While this bill aimed to restore those requirements, a larger discussion is warranted to determine if more holistic admissions processes should be allowable in the future.
HB0711/SB0466* – Competency-based Education – Current Tennessee scholarships programs such as Hope, TN Promise, and TN Reconnect require a minimum number of credit hours of enrollment for eligibility. This legislation would expand scholarship eligibility to institutions that offer competency-based credit (Wester Governors University). Doing so will increase degree attainment and accessibility for non-traditional and adult students.
Wonder how your legislator voted on these key issues and more? Get notified when our 2022 SuccessCard is released by using our email sign-up tool today.
*TSS tracked these initiatives with intention of higher education policy engagement on a limited basis in 2023. They are not included in the 2022 SuccessCard.