Latest From the Legislature

Legislative Update – February 15, 2016

Good news, great news actually, but we’ll start with the good news. Last week we told you about House Bill 1537, legislation to provide accountability for TNReady, reduce the number of tests given statewide, and give our high school students a better shot at success in college. We’re happy to let you know HB 1537 passed the House Education Instruction and Program Committee last week! This commonsense legislation still has a few more steps before it becomes law, but we wanted to make sure you knew the good news.

Take a moment and email legislators, including bill sponsor Representative Kevin Brooks, and thank them for their work for student success.

Two bills we opposed last week were rolled to this week. The first bill: HB 1794 – Allows state elected officials to tie the hands of local school districts in determining how to reward and retain their top teachers. Tennesseans for Student Success is opposed to this concept because we believe we should reward and incentivize the state’s best and highest achieving teachers. Teachers work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of their students and we should oppose any effort that minimizes the work of our state’s best educators.

HB 1473 – Allows students to opt out of the ACT. Tennesseans for Student Success is opposed to this legislation knowing opting out of the ACT only opts our students, teachers, and state out of future success and creates an inaccurate picture of a district’s ability to prepare students for life after high school.

Please take a moment and email the House Education and Programs Subcommittee and ask them to oppose these bills.

Before you get back to the things on your list, we want to make sure you knew the things we were pushing against this week. We wanted to call your attention to three bills that will stand in the way of Tennessee’s students and teachers, and the good work done by both to support success.

HB 2020 – This legislation restricts the Achievement School District’s ability to serve students in underperforming schools. We believe every student, regardless of zip code, deserves a top-notch Tennessee education that will prepare them for success inside and outside their time in our schools. The ASD helps rescue students trapped in failing schools – that good work shouldn’t be stopped.

HB 1753 –This legislation would remove the strong accountability measures in place for ASD schools. We believe that, in order to have a true representation of a school’s quality, it should be evaluated based on the achievement of all students inside the building. This bill proposes to separate students into different categories, removing some from overall picture of a school’s performance.

HB 1737 – We believe strongly in accountability in the classroom. Students, teachers, principals, and school board officials should all be accountable for the learning that takes place in classrooms across the state. That’s why we oppose HB 1737. This bill creates a process to virtually eliminate any real accountability for high-level employees of local school districts. We oppose efforts of elected officials in Nashville which would interfere in the policy and hiring practices of local school boards.

Please email House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee members and let them know you oppose efforts to roll back accountability and choice in student success.

We’ll be back next week with more information. Again, we couldn’t do this without you lending your voice and your support for Tennessee’s kids.

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