March 8, 2021
On Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package after a more than 24-hour marathon session that included the longest single vote in the chamber’s history. The legislation now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily before the end of the week.
If passed by the House, K-12 education will receive a $125 billion influx of federal funding. This new money adds to $67 billion of K-12 federal dollars provided by two earlier stimulus bills in 2020, resulting in an unprecedented $192 billion funding infusion into our schools, or about $2,600 per K-12 student.
Today, the Senate will vote on SB88, which would extend the Tennessee Public Charter Schools Commission to June 30, 2023. The legislation is expected to easily pass the Senate. Earlier today, the legislation passed the House Government Operations Committee by voice vote after the committee heard testimony from the commission. The commission itself is a fairly new construct. Importantly, the nine-member commission is tasked with overseeing the state’s 118 charter schools and the commission itself will recommend whether to approve or reject appeals from operators whose application to start, renew, or amend charters are denied by local school boards. TSS supports the extension of the commission.
TSS also supports SB414/HB973, which will be considered in the Senate Education Committee and House Education Instruction Committee on Wednesday. The bill enacts the “SEM Advancement Act,” which requires a local board of education or charter school governing body to develop and adopt a policy that establishes criteria for the enrollment of students in grades 7-12 into available advanced English language arts, mathematics, and science courses. We expect an amendment to be adopted in both the Senate and House that allows districts to remove a student from the program after 30 days and sets up a process for removal.
The Senate Education Committee will close out Wednesday’s meeting with a budget presentation from the Department of Education.
WREG (Memphis): TennesseeCan says annual testing is more important this year than ever
Columbia Daily Herald: Education commissioner visits Maury County as state focuses on building literacy
WTVC (Chattanooga): Tennessee recognizes The Howard School as ‘Model of Demonstration School’
Amplify: Research brief: COVID-19 means more students not learning to read