Greater School Choice Means Greater Progress For More Tennessee Students

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A new school year is upon us – with new teachers, new textbooks, and, hopefully, many new educational opportunities, for more Tennessee families and students.  

Going back to school is a big reminder to all parents of how quickly our children are growing, and, also how the world itself is changing. 

While all of the new technologies present some challenges – they also present many new opportunities and options for students, educators and parents alike. 

Our families are particularly excited to begin another school year of online learning with the Tennessee Virtual Academy.  We recognize that, like those in many other families, our children have very unique learning needs – and online learning is helping us meet the educational needs of our children in ways we never thought possible.

Our children are learning and thriving inside the Tennessee Virtual Academy – both in their studies – and through the individualized instruction and flexibility that helps with special needs and extracurriculars.

We are pleased that we selected this option for our children – and pleased that the Tennessee legislature gave us this option – because public education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Parents need an array of options beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar school, including online education, to help their children succeed. 

After all, different children have different needs when it comes to learning.  Some are visual learners, some tactile; some learn better in small groups, while others excel with individualized instruction, like the virtual schooling option that allows students to progress at their own pace. 

Online learning can often be life-changing as a second, and sometimes, last chance for many students who were falling behind or failing at their traditional school.   Many students come to the Tennessee Virtual Academy several grades behind.  Now, they are getting more tailored time and instruction designed to help catch them up. 

So we are troubled when we hear people, who don’t understand the needs and circumstances of families, like ours, that unnecessarily attack the school option we have chosen.  Too often, such critics take a very narrow look at test scores only to discount the validity of online learning, without putting those scores in the context of how these students were doing at their previous schools.

Families, like ours, are choosing online schools for a good reason.  No parent is being forced to choose the Tennessee Virtual Academy.  We believe parents should be able to choose whatever works best for their children.  Because we think parents, and not bureaucrats, know their children best.  

That’s why we hope state leaders will continue to work with parents, teachers and students to offer a variety of public school options to help our students succeed.  Forcing all students to attend a traditional school, even if it is failing them, is not progress.

Only when parents have a broad array of options will Tennessee’s education system continue to improve in this modern age. 

Cathy Berg, Cheatham County

Pamela Weston, Monroe County


Why The Big Money In District 1 School Board Race? - And Response

With the influx of money from Lookout and Signal Mountains as well as the teacher’s union, one of my opponents has already been able to send out 3-4 mailers, two letters and a postcard. One should ask why would the “big money” people on Lookout and Signal Mountains care about a school board race in District 1? The only answer is control and they know they cannot control me. ... (click for more)

America

Some have said down through history If you last it's a mystery But I guess they don't know what they're talking about From the mountains down to the sea You've become such a habit with me America, Ame-er-ica Sammy Johns penned these words back in 1973. It was the end of a war or, more properly, a police action… a police action that cost the lives of 58,220 of our ... (click for more)

County Schools Receive Community Gift For Almost $1 Million To Fund Public School Bible History Program

Bible in the Schools presented a community gift for nearly $1 million to the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) to reimburse 100 percent of the costs of funding a Bible history program in 18 public schools for the 2015–2016 academic year. Enrollment data for 2015–2016 reported 3,582 students in grades 6–12 elected to take a Bible history classes. “This gift from the ... (click for more)

DA's Office Defends Suspended Sentence In School Bus Driver Rape Case

The District Attorney's Office defended a controversial suspended sentence in a rape case involving a substitute county school bus driver. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the March 2015 incident, was in agreement on the plea and refused to testify against Alexander Rodriquez. Rodriguez, 34, last Thursday pleaded guilty to ... (click for more)

Dunbar Promoted To Head Wrestling Job At Ooltewah

J.D. Dunbar had been promoted to head wrestling coach at Ooltewah High School. Dunbar, an assistant with the Owls’ mat program since 2012, becomes a head coach for the first time at the high school level. He replaces Bryant Blackmon, who recently resigned. The 36-year-old Dunbar is also the school’s strength and conditioning coach and assistant head football coach on ... (click for more)

Another Big Week For Chattanooga Football Club

More than 10,000 fans gathered at Finley Stadium last Saturday to see a 5-3 penalty kick win over Miami United.   CFC keeper Gregga Hartley made a save and scored the winning penalty kick, helping his team to advance to the national semifinals on Saturday.  They will host Sonoma County Sol at 7:30 in the comfy confines of "Fort Finley"  Chattanooga is the top ... (click for more)