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


Towers

“Yo! White boys! What do you think you’re doing?” “What you mean, man? Workin’. Layin’ block. What’s it look like we’re doin’?” responded one. “Don’t you know you’re doing work Americans won’t? You’re going to give us all a bad rap working along side the main drag like this, in broad daylight too. Boss-man around?” The Gang and I were on a road trip a while back. ... (click for more)

Joe Smith Is The Best Choice For County Commission District 3

After spending 20 years of my life working in and around campaigns and elections, I have been basically silent over the past six years. I just wanted to step away and let others have their time. The one thing that could bring me to voice my opinion on a particular race is the fact that my dear friend, Joe Smith, wants to represent me and everyone else in the County Commission ... (click for more)

Highway 58 Man Charged In Fatal Hit And Run In Dayton, Tn.

A Highway 58 man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit and run of a Rhea County man.   Walter Hale was badly injured and later died after he was struck in Dayton.   Authorities were led to Douglas Edward Alvey, 52, through video from the We Care business in Dayton, where the 60-year-old victim worked.   After officers with the Dayton ... (click for more)

Man, 78, Found Dead With Gunshot Wound To The Chest At Residence On Central Avenue

A 78-year-old man has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at a residence on Central Avenue. Chattanooga Police were called to the 1900 block of Central Avenue on Thursday at 10:08 a.m. Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police officers located George Garth deceased. At this time there is no suspect information available. Chattanooga Violent Crimes Bureau investigators ... (click for more)

No. 3 Chattanooga Rolls Past Samford, 41-21

CHATTANOOGA---The 3rd-ranked Chattanooga Mocs utilized a balanced attack in a 41-21 win over Southern Conference rival Samford Saturday afternoon. Balanced is the operative term as both sides of the ball contributed to the victory.   "Great win," coach Russ Huesman said. "We beat a good football team that has great skill kids that are hard to tackle. It was great to ... (click for more)

Vols' Astonishing Rally Wrecks Florida, 38-28, Before 102,455 Stunned Fans

(Story will be updated) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Quack. Quack. Quack. As it turns out, Teez Tabor, Florida’s trash-talking defensive back, a duck can pull a truck, sir. Tennessee’s 14 th -ranked Volunteers sent shock waves throughout the college football world Saturday, rallying from a 21-point deficit against No. 19 Florida to stun the Gators, 38-28, before a crowd of ... (click for more)