• Chamber releases Nashville education report card
    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released its 19th annual report card for the district today, offering a range of recommendations. This year its recommendations covered parental involvement, use of resources and testing. The committee also called on the state of Tennessee to make ACT performance a factor in evaluating whether schools are hitting accountability targets.
  • Senator files proposal to amend teacher evaluation process
    State Sen. Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) announced Monday that he has filed legislation to allow teachers and principals with superior value added growth data scores to choose to use those scores to comprise 50 percent or more of their evaluations. Senate Bill 2165 would change the present system where students’ value added growth is 35 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score, with another 15 percent tied to another measure agreed upon by the teacher and his/her supervisor to evaluate student achievement, according to a press release. Under Faulk’s proposal, the state Board of Education would adopt standards for high achievement.
  • HOPE falters: State board upholds Blount’s charter denial
    Legislators need to fix legislative loopholes in future sessions, Herron said. “The state’s going to lose potentially good applicants, because the process isn’t objective.” The State Board of Education’s decision also has the potential to harm Tennessee’s charter school movement, Herron said. “I think we made the case for an independent, statewide authorizer. We need a process that’s more objective.” Matt Throckmorton, Tennessee Charter School Association’s executive director, was similarly disappointed in Monday’s decision. “I’ve read a lot of applications in my 15 years. They’re a very solid group, and they had a very solid application. They were at a level to be approved.”
  • STEM and Urban Schools: Opportunities to Escape Poverty’s Cycle
    People in the inner cities need real jobs, not hourly wage work. STEM fields need skilled professionals. Sounds like a perfect fit, right? One of the biggest issues in education today: Teachers lack knowledge in the content needed to teach the STEM areas effectively.
  • After strong debate, school board gives Drexel second chance
    Metro Nashville Board of Education voted Monday to give a troubled charter school a second chance. Board members decided against immediately revoking Drexel Preparatory Academy’s charter despite severe federal and state violations. Instead, they voted 5-3 to place it on probation for failing to provide sufficient services to English Language Learners and special-needs students.
  • Teachers Lose Under National Standards Proposal
    National standards are unlikely to make U.S. students more competitive, will fail to provide meaningful information to parents, and will put more emphasis on uniformity rather than standards of excellence. And children won’t be the only ones to lose out: With Washington dictating what will be taught in every classroom across the country, teachers will be anything but free to teach how they see fit.
  • Nationalization Train Starts Going Off the Tracks
    As it stands, the federal government is dumping several hundred million dollars on two testing consortia to develop assessments based on the federally “incentivized” Common Core standards.
  • Tracy to lead STEM Education Caucus
    The Tennessee Legislature recently announced the launch of a bipartisan, bicameral Tennessee STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Caucus during the 2011 legislative recess.
    This is the nation’s first state-level caucus on education issues. As a non-voting bloc, the goals of the caucus are to:
  • Report card released for White Co. schools
    Though the standards for schools have been raised, Crouch remarked, “Raising the academic bar for Tennessee students was the right thing to do. What White County educators need now is time—time to integrate the higher standards and time to absorb the new teacher/principal evaluation system.
  • TN Board of Education denies Blount Charter appeal
    Tennessee’s State Board of Education has denied the appeal of a Blount County charter school, voting unanimously to uphold the decision of the county’s Board of Education. “Out of 100 points possible, the amended application scored only 41 points. We’ve seen several applications across the state in the 80s and 90s,” said Gary Nixon, Executive Director of the State Board of Education. HOPE Academy can re-submit an application to Blount County Schools next year.
  • Unleashing the Power of School Choice: Fulton County Shows Why Districts Shouldn’t Oversee Charter Schools
    The underlying reasons illustrate why it is time to abolish state laws that put charter school authorizing into the hands of traditional districts — which are generally competitors with charters for students and funding — and move toward a system in states handle the approval and regulation.
  • Drexel Prep gets reprieve; Nashville school board wants monthly updates
    A Nashville charter school will have the rest of the school year to prove it can give its students the services promised. The Metro Board of Education, which closed another charter school two years ago for financial mismanagement, voted in a special meeting tonight to keep Drexel on probation through the end of the year and receive monthly reports.
  • Study details societal ramifications for high school dropouts
    Using average tax payments to state, federal and local governments as well as looking at cash benefits like unemployment compensation through U.S. census data available in the 2009 and 2010 American Community Survey, the study conducted by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston determined that dropouts cost society $1,510 annually as opposed to high school grads, who pay more than $5,000 in taxes, and college grads, who nearly quadruple that contribution.
  • Too many liberals are on the wrong side of the school choice debate
    We liberals see our public schools as the centerpiece of America’s “melting pot” society. Religiously divisive societies like Northern Ireland and Lebanon worry us. Teachers unions are generally applauded as providing needed job protection for committed professionals who are helping to shape the lives of our children. These beliefs combine to cause all too many liberals automatically to oppose school choice plans that would enable more low-income families to choose religious or other private schools for their children. That’s too bad, and it need not be that way.

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