February 12, 2019
NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success released their annual legislative priorities today and announced an additional policy principle focused on maintaining student success, economic freedom after graduation.
“Tennesseans for Student Success strives to engage the state’s parents, teachers, and community leaders in a common goal of creating and supporting a public education system that prepares students for success after graduation from high school,” said President and CEO Adam Lister. “We frame our policy priorities around five key goals: high expectations for all students, measuring what matters, innovation in education, strong accountability in the classrooms, and securing economic freedom for all Tennesseans.”
Lister continued: “As Tennesseans for Student Success continues unrelenting advocacy in support of the policies most directly responsible for driving improvements in student achievement, we are also announcing an expansion of our mission. We will focus on protecting the opportunity of economic freedom for all Tennesseans through investment in expanded dual enrollment, work-based learning opportunities, technical training, and other strategies to increase the number students who can access, afford, and complete a post-secondary credential or degree.
The policy principles are:
High Expectations for All Students — 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. Whatever the path, students must be ready – on day one –to achieve, learn, and grow. High academic standards in today’s classrooms help make sure our students will be ready for tomorrow’s opportunities for success.
Measuring What Matters — 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. The work that is happening in our classrooms is far too important – with lasting implications – to take a “wait and see” approach to student success. Good tests, ones that accurately and fairly measure what our students know, where they are growing and achieving, and where they need more support, are critical in student success. Good tests are also critical to quality classroom instruction. A test aligned with high academic standards also aligns professional development opportunities for our teachers helping them focus their personal improvement in ways that further supports students.
Innovation in Education — When public education is free to innovate the results can be astounding. Classrooms can adapt, teachers can transform, and students can succeed. The opportunity to be innovative should be welcome in all Tennessee public schools. Public education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to student success. Many students, teachers, and classrooms flourish in traditional public school settings. For some, iZone schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, academy models, and alternative public-school settings are the answer for students to succeed. No matter how or where a student learns in Tennessee’s public schools, those schools must be able to adopt the best practices for innovation and student success.
Strong Accountability in the Classroom — From legislators to administrators, teachers and students, and parents and community volunteers, everyone is accountable for the success, growth, and achievement of Tennessee’s classrooms. How do we hold everyone accountable? We measure for success. Whether it’s student assessments, district report cards, teacher evaluations, or scorecards for legislators, we measure what we want to see improve. Then we report those measures, making sure the tools for growth are available and help every classroom succeed.
Securing Economic Freedom for All Tennesseans —We have advocated for higher, better academic standards which prepare students for success in a 21st century economy but to fully honor our promise to provide today’s students with an opportunity for success in the future, we must ensure all Tennessean are prepared for, can access, and complete a post-secondary credential or degree. Today, more than ever, Tennessee’s students have an opportunity to seamlessly transition from high school to college and career. As the global workforce continues to evolve, it is increasingly important to improve alignment among student instruction, teacher preparation, parent engagement, and the development of the necessary skills for future and current employees to help employers fill the available jobs and secure their own economic independence. We will accomplish these goals by pursuing policies that strengthen pathways to a post-secondary credential, increase retention and completion.
Please click here for a comprehensive list of the 2019 Tennesseans for Student Success state legislative priorities.