• Desperate Parents Take Serious Risks to Get a Better Education for their Children
    The risks these parents are willing to take should tell us how poor the education options are across the country, and why we need to demand more choices and opportunities for parents to give their children the quality education they deserve. We can’t allow parents to reach this point of desperation anymore.
  • The Book on Rhee’s DC tenure: Pretty Good, Let’s Move On
    The most important point is: DC scores are still a disaster despite the large gains before, during and after Rhee. Rhee has moved on, but the rotten scores are still there.
  • Indignant over Free Speech Trumping Bullying Protection? Support Choice
    The answer is that despite all the lofty talk of “democracy” and other empty rhetoric behind public schooling, you cannot protect everyone equally in a government school. No matter what policy a public school or district adopts, government will pick winners and losers. That’s why the only solution to a quandary such as this is educational freedom: Give control of education funding to parents, let them choose among independent schools run by free educators, and enable people to choose schools that share their values. Then all people can select educations for their children that comport with their values and needs, and without government deciding who is more, or less, equal than whom.
  • Kingsport BOE opposes state-mandated starting date
    Kingsport school leaders have gone on record opposing taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools, Tennessee-mandated start dates for school calendars, and elected superintendents.
  • Independent experts support teacher evaluation standards
    Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation process was developed and field-tested in Tennessee with schools across the state. The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) contributed the Teacher Achievement Program (TAP) standards, which were modified for their use within the Tennessee system. TAP standards are being used by more than 300 schools, 20,000 teachers and 200,000 students in more than a dozen states. These standards provide specific, instructionally focused information to help teachers continue to improve their practice over time. National reports and experts have examined TAP standards and judged them to be an excellent example of high-quality teacher evaluation based on research and 10 years of actual implementation in schools.
  • Business leaders oppose changes to teacher evaluations
    Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman will ask the state Board of Education today to modify the new teacher evaluations, hoping to relieve time-pressured principals of some requirements and better ensure assessments are fair. But the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and another group of business leaders and educators are opposing any changes. The chamber’s board adopted a resolution to that effect last week, and the Nashville’s Agenda leadership group published a full-page open letter to the legislature in Thursday’s Tennessean.
  • Tennessee teacher programs called to account
    Tennessee’s teacher preparation programs are turning out a wide variety of educators, from woefully unprepared to high achieving, according to a new state report. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission released its Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs this week and shows that, of the state’s 41 teacher-training programs, only three produce graduates that enter the classroom and are immediately more effective at teaching than veteran teachers who’ve had more than three years of experience. Only three programs — Teach for America Memphis, Teach for America Nashville and Lipscomb University in Nashville — produce new teachers whose students do better on state tests than veteran teachers.
  • Confucius Classroom comes to Hillsboro High School
    Hillsboro High School is getting Metro Nashville Public Schools’ first Confucius Classroom, a special place to teach and promote Chinese language and culture. It’s part of the school’s Academy of International Business and Communication and was funded through the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis and the Office of Chinese Language Council International.The district points out three primary reasons to open the classroom: Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world and third most widely spoken in the U.S.
  • Education Committee Hears from Supporters, Critics of New Teacher Evaluation System
    The House Education Committee listened to several witnesses about teacher evaluations on Wednesday, as well as opinions from educators expressed through legislators. The issue now is that what some see as a flawed evaluation process is tied to a teacher tenure system that was revamped in the last legislative session. While lawmakers heard a lot about coping with a difficult system, there was little to suggest actual legislation might result from the hearing.
  • Gates funding key for Memphis-Shelby County schools’ future, Supt. Cash says
    Supt. Kriner Cash used those points Thursday to push the transition committee to see the reforms he has unveiled, many through the deep pockets of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as central to the success of the new, merged school system. Next week, SCS Supt. John Aitken will give the transition committee an overview of SCS programs.
  • School board votes to include Hill City in Normal Park zone
    Growing pains within the Hamilton County school system were on full display Thursday night, as school board members voted 5-4 in a special called session to expand the zone surrounding Normal Park Museum Magnet School. The zone will now include the neighborhood located along Bell and Spears avenues.
  • Indiana Claims Title of Nation’s Biggest First-Year Voucher Program Ever
    The Indiana Department of Education (DOE) announced that the state’s new voucher program approved nearly 4,000 students for participation in 2011-12, making the Choice Scholarship Program the biggest first-year voucher program ever.

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