Alexander Votes Against “National School Board”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) voted against sending to the Senate floor a bill introduced by Senate Democrats that he said would “establish a national school board.”

In a party-line vote, Democrats voted 12 to 10 to send the bill to the floor.

Sen. Alexander offered as an alternative a proposal to fix No Child Left Behind, saying, “what we’re trying to do is free the states to help children in 100,000 schools meet their needs in individual ways. The real difference is whether we think the responsibility is here in Washington or at home—we believe it’s at home.

 

“The Democratic proposal establishes a national school board. What such a proposal really says is they don’t trust parents and they don’t trust classroom teachers and states to care about and help educate their children, and they want someone in Washington do it for them.

 

“We completely reject that. Our proposal places responsibility for helping our children learn  squarely where it ought to be —on states and communities, and it does that by giving teachers and parents more freedom, flexibility and choice.”

 

The Alexander substitute for the Democratic proposal includes:

 

  • More state and local control:  Transfers from Washington to states decisions about measuring student achievement, fixing underperforming schools, and whether schools and teachers are succeeding or failing.
  • No National School Board mandates: Makes clear that the U.S. Education Secretary’s waiver authority is led by state requests for flexibility, and is not an excuse to impose more federal mandates.
  • High standards and quality tests: States, not Washington, will define high standards and tests for students in reading, math and science.
  • More school choices for low income parents: Allows states to use $14.5 billion in Title I funds for low-income children to follow those children to the public school they attend—ending a formula that diverted those funds to schools serving wealthier families.
  • More freedom for teachers and principals: Encourages charter schools, which give teachers and school leaders more freedom to use their own good judgment about how to teach.
  • Encourage teacher evaluations: Ends federal definitions of “highly qualified teachers” and encourages states to use their share of $2.5 billion in federal Title II funds to create teacher evaluation systems related to student performance and other factors.
  • Flexibility in spending federal funds: Consolidates 62 programs authorized in No Child Left Behind into two block grants and gives states more flexibility in spending education dollars.
  • Secretary’s report cards: Continues state and district report cards on schools from No Child Left Behind and creates an annual Secretary’s report card on the nation’s schools.

 


Lee University Welcomes New Faculty

Lee University welcomed 14 new faculty members this fall, including eight from among the Schools of Music, Nursing, and Religion, along with the Helen DeVos College of Education and the Squires Library.  Lenena Brezna joins the Lee faculty as a lecturer in voice. Prior to Lee, Ms. Brezna taught music appreciation and was a voice instructor at the University of Memphis. She ... (click for more)

Tennessee Treasury Department To Host Series Of Webinars On Saving For College

In celebration of College Savings Month, the Tennessee Treasury Department wants to help make college planning easier. Beginning Sept. 10, the department will host a series of free web-based seminars - or webinars - on topics related to college savings. These webinars will include information about the TNStars 529 College Savings Plan, which allows people to save money for children’s ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library - And Response

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)