July 7, 2020
Preceding the release of our TNSuccessCard this summer, we are highlighting our policy pillars and the corresponding bills that are associated with those priorities to help inform the grades each legislator has earned. Today, we are featuring accountability.
For students to succeed, there must be accountability for everyone involved in student success. 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 success. Whether it’s student assessments, district report cards, teacher evaluations, or scorecards for legislators, we measure what we want to improve. Then we report those measures, making sure the tools for growth are available and help every classroom succeed.
SB 460/HB 420 – Led by Akbari/Smith. This bill requires local districts to report annually on student placement and teacher effectiveness. Reporting by subgroup will identify our most at-risk students, and if they are consistently placed with a chronically underperforming teacher. Research shows that high-performing teachers supported with on-going professional development are a critical factor in student growth. TSS believes in accountability for everyone involved in student success. Tennesseans for Student Success supported this bill.
SB 496/HB 38 – Led by Bowling/VanHuss. This bill weakens the teacher evaluation system for early grades and creates inconsistencies in evaluating teachers district-to-district. Additionally, it removes student growth measures, which are an essential aspect of meaningful teacher evaluations utilized to improve and support educators’ professional development. Tennesseans for Student Success opposed this bill.
SB 2214/HB 2425 – Led by Bowling/Coley. This bill allows teachers to omit student growth data if teacher evaluations result in a higher score by excluding the student growth evaluation composites. Student growth measures are an essential aspect of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) evaluation system. The current evaluation system considers both student growth and student achievement results and is utilized to improve and support professional development for educators. Tennesseans for Student Success opposed this bill.
SB 2234/HB 2386 – Led by Yager/Calfee. This bill establishes a retention election for school superintendents politicizing the appointment or retention of a director of schools, creating a contradictory governance structure with blurred lines of accountability. TSS supports preserving the current system for selecting school superintendents, in which these leaders are appointed by an elected school board to ensure a clear and accountable governance structure. Tennesseans for Student Success opposed this bill.
SB 2512 /HB 2300 – Led by Dickerson/Haston. This bill removes the requirement that the Department of Education annually assigns an A, B, C, D, or F letter grades to schools based on student performance on TCAP or end-of-course exams and student growth as indicated by TVAAS data or other measures of student growth. Under ESSA, states must “establish a system of meaningfully differentiating, on an annual basis, all public schools in the state.” TSS is unapologetic in our support of accountability for all involved with student success. Measuring what matters helps identify where additional help is needed for improvement. Parents deserve an easy to understand measure of how their child’s school performs. Tennesseans for Student Success opposed this bill.
SB 836/HB 1083 – Led by Akbari/White. This bill supports strict accountability for charter schools by ensuring the automatic closure of schools that are placed on the state’s “priority school” list, which is the lowest-performing 5 percent of public schools in Tennessee, in two consecutive cycles. This requires the public charter school to develop and implement a comprehensive support and improvement plan if not closed the first year it falls on the Priority List. Tennesseans for Student Success supported this bill.
To gain a better understanding of how this policy priority effects educators on a ground level, watch this video of Ms.Tameka Marshall as she explains how accountability impacts her teaching.
The SuccessCard offers clear and concise information on how members of the Tennessee General Assembly voted to support the policies that have led to Tennessee twice becoming the fastest improving state in the nation.
Join Tennesseans for Student Success in our education policy discussion group to help advise us on policies that influence Tennessee’s one million students.
Our Education Policy Discussion Group plans to meet a few times virtually before the January 2021 Legislative Session. Feel free to participate when it works best for your schedule. Requirements for the working group is that you have a passion for education reform, and believe in one or more of our policy areas found here.