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


Strays For Carter

For those of you who have visited the Carter home you noticed the dog beds begin at the side door and continue throughout the house ending at the foot of the bed.   Yes, we are dog lovers; we don’t look for dogs, they seem to find us.  Those of you who know my husband might consider him a bit of a bulldog himself, once he has a passion for something he will not let ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Will George Go?

George Will, easily one of the most respected conservative columnists in America and a Republican commentator, was a guest on Fox News Sunday yesterday when he made a very revealing statement. He announced he has left the Republican Party “for the same reason I joined it” and that he is not only disappointed by the party’s actions but its increasingly-inept leadership as well. ... (click for more)

Clara Edwards Gets 20-Year Sentence In Death Of Foster Child In Catoosa County

A Catoosa County woman on Monday was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison in connection with the death of a foster child. Clara Louise Edwards entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of felony murder before Judge Ralph Van Pelt. Ms.  Edwards was indicted in July of 2014 by the Catoosa County Grand Jury for malice murder, ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Council Unanimously Approves Contract For New City Manager; Fivas To Make $140,000

The Cleveland City Council has unanimously approved a contract with Joe Fivas  as the next city manager. The council also created a new position, assistant city manager/chief financial officer. It is now one of two assistant city manager positions. Assistant City Manager Melinda Carroll will continue her management role with the title of assistant city manager/operations. ... (click for more)

Tim Couch Resigns As Silverdale Softball Coach

Tim Couch, who led the Silverdale Baptist Academy softball team to a runner-up finish in the 2016 TSSAA Class 1A state tournament, has resigned as the Lady Seahawks’ coach. Couch just completed his fifth season as the Silverdale coach – the Lady Seahawks went 42-5 -- and it was by far his most successful campaign. “This wasn’t an easy decision, but I’ve been thinking about ... (click for more)

Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Generals To 3-1 Win Over Lookouts

The Jackson Generals used a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts, 3-1.   The Lookouts won the first series of the second half, three games to two.. Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart was the story early for Chattanooga, shutting out Jackson for six innings. The righty got into trouble in the seventh by allowing a walk and a double. After ... (click for more)