January 29, 2016
What are our education issues? That’s a good question. At the end of the day we’re with you; and other partners in education advocacy, ready to do the work to make sure every student in Tennessee receives a top-notch Tennessee education that prepares them for success after graduation. That’s a noble goal, and we’re not letting up the pressure on our way to it, but we think it’s good to break big goals down into smaller ones. Like one of our good teachers across the state, we’ve broken down our legislative priorities into four categories of things we support:
High Academic Standards-
Tennessee’s students will soon be competing for spots in colleges, for jobs, for placements in technical fields, and for prestigious positions in our Nation’s Armed Forces with students from across the country. We know our students can compete and succeed, but they can be better prepared. High academic standards aren’t about fitting more instruction into a school year or making sure every box gets checked on education goals. High academic standards are about expecting more from our students, our teachers, our parents, and ourselves.
We will support rigorous K-12 academic standards that create high expectations for students and better prepare them to be successful as they enter into post-secondary studies or careers.
More than an elected official, more than a school administrator, engaged parents know best the right place where their child can reach his/her full potential. For many, success in the classroom comes in a traditional school setting. For other students, more focus is needed in a certain discipline or subject. The goal for education advocates in Tennessee isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to student achievement. Every child in Tennessee deserves a top-notch Tennessee education that prepares them for success.
We will support strategies to turn around and improve under-performing schools that have a demonstrated track record for improving student growth measures.
We support local school boards, and their local constituencies made up of parents, teachers, and citizens, who know their communities, their classrooms, and their students’ needs, in their continued work to set curriculum.
Public education is a public good – and a great public good at that! While we work together to protect and advance the gains made in Tennessee’s classrooms, we will stay committed to holding all those involved in the classroom accountable for success.
We will encourage an accountability system that incorporates student achievement and academic growth to support excellent teachers and teaching in the classroom.
We will support the current system for selecting the state Board of Education and local school superintendents.
Fewer, Better Tests
Helping students be successful means that along with helping them learn the necessary skills to move from one grade to the next, we should work to make sure they know how to be successful in life after graduation. Whether in college, or in a job, or as they file their taxes each year, there will be moments they have to show their competence. It is harmful to bring students through the education system with the belief that they will never have to show their grasp of a subject or an idea. Simply, tests are a part of life, though the look different and aren’t graded in red ink as an adult, and need to be a part of the classroom.
We will support fewer, better tests as a strategy to increase classroom instructional time.
We will support an assessment aligned to the state’s K-12 academic standards which will accurately measure student achievement.