March 2, 2021
Tennesseans for Student Success has begun the 2021 legislative session by introducing our policy priorities and how they improve outcomes and equity for students. Read about all five of our pillars here.
Ensuring our students are set up for success in a 21st-century economy is vital to seeing our diverse workforce evolve and improve. Developing the necessary skills to become economically independent is a key measure of success for all Tennesseans.
It is increasingly important to improve alignment among student instruction, industry needs, postsecondary options, and teacher preparation. That’s why we advocate for higher academic standards which prepare students for bright futures. Let’s work together to ensure Tennessee kids are prepared for, can access, and can complete a postsecondary credential or degree.
Join us by emailing your legislators to encourage economic freedom in Tennessee’s public schools. Communicating with your legislators provides lawmakers with helpful insight into what Tennesseans believe about education policies and directly informs their decisions and actions. Help make a difference for Tennessee’s one million students by emailing your legislators today!
As the legislative session swings into full gear, we are monitoring a lot of activity on Capitol Hill. Approximately 1,830 bills were filed before the House filing deadline on Wednesday, February 24. While we are tracking hundreds of bills related to education reform, there are nearly a dozen related to school funding. We continue to believe that funding issues should not be handled in isolation and that the legislature should have a broader conversation about the effectiveness and functionality of the Basic Education Program (BEP).
Today, the House K-12 Subcommittee will hold a hearing on SB703/HB858. The bill, which TSS opposes, authorizes virtual schools to exceed maximum class sizes by up to 30 percent, which runs contrary to the currently codified class sizes and raises questions about the quality of education in classrooms across the state.
The House K-12 Subcommittee will also consider HB225/SB103, which specifies that local boards of education and governing bodies of public charter schools have the sole authority to open or close schools during a public health emergency. The Senate companion bill, passed the Senate, as amended, on Monday, February 22, by a vote of 27-5. The amendment authorized a local board of education and the governing body of a public charter school to delegate the authority to open or close a school to in-person learning to the director of schools and the administrator of the public charter school respectively. TSS expects the House to adopt the language of the Senate amendment and is neutral on the bill, as amended.
Last week, TSS joined a broad coalition of education, business, immigration policy, civil rights, social justice, and disability rights organizations in responding to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) updated state guidance on student assessment during the pandemic.
“In October, Tennessee struck the right balance by announcing it would keep annual end-of-year assessments in place while ensuring teachers and schools will not be penalized following unprecedented challenges,” said Adam Lister, President and CEO of Tennesseans for Student Success. “As the Biden administration begins to implement its promised state-by-state flexibility, it is critical to maintain statewide testing as it continues to be the most reliable way to assess academic progress and ensure that every student in Tennessee is receiving a quality education. Without objective and uniform data to measure learning loss, we fear inequities will only continue to grow.”
The 74th: Student Survey: 1 in 4 High School Seniors Had Their Post-Graduation Plans Changed by the Pandemic
Columbia Daily Herald: Achievement amid hardship: Maury County Public Schools celebrates striving students
Jackson Sun: JMCSS becomes its own partner in LOOP
Nashville Public Radio (WPLN): Metro Schools Staff And Educators Receiving Long-Awaited COVID-19 Vaccinations