May 21, 2020
On behalf of Tennesseans for Student Success, we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times.
The impact of COVID-19 has been far-reaching. From Memphis to Mountain City and everywhere in between, nearly every aspect of a Tennessean’s life has been affected. In public education, we have seen dramatic changes in how learning looks, feels and is accomplished. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local level have had to make swift, sweeping changes that have an impact on school districts, educators, and families.
Nevertheless, during these hard times, we are steadfast in our commitment to advocate for Tennessee’s one million students. While COVID-19 has made us more aware of the uncertainty that surrounds us, we cannot allow our focus on student success to be diminished or worse, see progress slowed. Rather than using this crisis as an opportunity to lower the bar for our students and teachers, we should view this moment as a ringing alarm underscoring the essential need for true student-focused policy. We must, every day, recommit to empowering teachers and challenge them to develop high-quality instruction that grows their students, even in unconventional classroom environments. Tennessee must commit to all students and aggressively pursue policies that will provide opportunity for every child, especially our most vulnerable, to emerge from this crisis with a bright future still in view.
While these extraordinary times create challenges and interrupt traditional learning in the short term, we maintain the expectation that state and local officials share our simple but audacious goal that every student in Tennessee has access to an excellent public education and an opportunity for success.
Tennesseans expect their leaders to broaden their student-centered response to COVID-19 by adding safety and flexibility without reducing expectations for student growth, achievement, and their life-long preparedness.
As we celebrate the amazing resilience of the class of 2020, we recognize how gracefully they have adapted while also grieving with them the loss of important and meaningful milestones. Despite these missed opportunities, we know these students are better prepared than their peers just 10 years ago.
As we navigate how to best serve our youth and prepare them for bright futures, will you add your voice to support Tennessee students? Join us in championing educational opportunities for all Tennesseans.
TSS President & CEO