March 14, 2016
70 bills. That’s right. This week we’re watching 70+ bills that are working their way through subcommittees, committees, and floor votes. They cover the full range of topics in education from what type of classes should be offered in high schools to high standards to teacher preparation programs in Tennessee colleges. It’s going to be a full week, but don’t worry, we’re not going to update you on 70 bills today. We thought, since it’s Pi Day, we’d circle back on our legislative victories from last week. Thank you for being a part of student success in Tennessee – we couldn’t do it without you!
House Bill 1419 – Passed – We’ve mentioned this bill a lot recently and we’re excited to see it move forward. This legislation (SB 2508 in the Senate) gives teachers options in how data from TNReady is used in their evaluation scores this year.
House Bill 858 – Failed –This legislation would have rolled back the Achievement School District’s ability to help rescue students stuck in failing schools.
House Bill 2020 – Failed – This is another bill to tie the hands of the Achievement School District. We oppose these bills for a simple reason – we believe every student should have an equal opportunity to succeed. If a student in Tennessee is in a failing school, every week, every semester, every year that we wait to intervene is another year our students fall further behind. When it comes to student success, we simply can’t afford to wait.
Senate Bill 1606 – Failed – You’ve heard us mention this several times over the past two years and we mean it more every day: politics should stop at a school’s front door. We’re glad to report that Tennessee’s school system leaders will continue to be held accountable to an elected school board and not political donations ensuring their focus remains on school improvement, not reelection.
Senate Bill 1984 – Failed – This legislation would have created two separate classes of assessments, two systems of measuring success, and two different levels of accountability in Tennessee’s classrooms. We opposed this bill because every student in Tennessee – no matter their zip code – should be given the tools they need to succeed and should have confidence in the reliability of those tools.
Thank you for all the calls, emails, notes, and for using your voice for Tennessee’s kids.
We do want to let you know about one of the 70+ bills we’re watching this week. Senate Bill 2205 would chip away at a strong accountability system in Tennessee’s classrooms. It’s important that everyone- teachers and students – be held accountable for the work that takes place in our classrooms. We oppose SB 2205 because it threatens to roll back that accountability for students. We’ll keep you posted on the bill as it moves forward.
As you can see, we’ve had a busy week and a busy one ahead. We might jump into your inbox with an urgent call to action this week, but, as always, we’ll do so sparingly. If you have a moment today – after you celebrate Pi Day – we’d love for you to drop a note to the House Education Subcommittees and the Senate Education Committee. This part of Session always gets busy and we’d love to remind our elected officials about our four priorities to support student success: high academic standards, more choices in education, greater accountability, and fewer, better tests.