State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday:

After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, our state is moving forward with the foundational efforts that together have made Tennessee the fastest-improving state in student achievement. We continue to raise academic expectations for students through Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards. We are implementing a teacher evaluation system that supports effective teaching. We have a strong state accountability system. We thank the General Assembly for soundly rejecting many efforts to repeal or delay key student-centered education policies. 

While high academic standards, effective teaching, and accountability for results are vital parts of Tennessee’s work to improve student achievement, so, too, is an accurate measurement of student progress. Tennessee needs good assessments that allow students to show what they know, deliver timely information about student progress to teachers and parents, and reinforce the problem-solving and critical thinking skills students need to succeed in college and careers.

This legislation (HB1549/SB1835) creates a disappointing pause in Tennessee’s efforts to have a high-quality assessment that truly measures student learning. We have supported moving to a new state assessment in the 2014-15 school year because students deserve a more engaging, skills-based assessment that is better aligned with classroom instruction and allows them the opportunity to show how much they have actually learned.  In addition, teachers need an assessment that is fully aligned with the standards they are using in the classroom. 

We remain confident that Tennessee’s students are capable of the highest academic performance. Looking ahead, it is critical that policymakers and other state leaders use this time of transition to diligently ensure Tennessee has a fair, skills-based, and authentic assessment that measures problem-solving and critical thinking skills by the statutory deadline of 2015. The important work communities, districts, and schools are doing to upgrade their technology infrastructure in preparation for online assessments is vital to this transition and should continue in earnest. Last, we ask that leaders across the state work to ensure that educators and parents receive clear and transparent direction on what to expect next to avoid confusion and disruption during this transition.

Joe Smith Will Be Our Watchdog

I am writing as a registered Democratic voter asking that all voters, regardless of party affiliation, vote for Independent Candidate Joe Smith for District 3 Hamilton County commissioner.  The Hamilton County Commission is the local legislative branch of our county government and their duties include making policies, ordinances, appropriating funds and many other things ... (click for more)

Medical Cannabis Can Literally Save Lives

Narcotic drug overdoses have increased in our area over 40 percent in the past year, and it's time to do something about this public health crisis. Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Director Mark Gwyn said, "We had more overdose deaths in the state last year than we had traffic fatalities."  Medical cannabis is an alternative to the use of potentially dangerous narcotics ... (click for more)

Man Shot And Killed In St. Elmo Monday Morning; Police Interview Person Of Interest

One person was shot and killed in St. Elmo Monday morning. Police said they had interviewed a person of interest in the slaying. Chattanooga Police at 8:30 a.m. responded to a person shot at the 5000 block of Florida Ave. Upon police arrival the victim, Howard Simmons, 47, had already succumbed to his injuries. Mrs. Simmons suffered at least one gunshot wound. At this ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Open Cancer Center On Gunbarrel Road At East Campus

Work is set to begin soon on construction of a new Cancer Center by Erlanger Health System at its Gunbarrel Road East Campus. Erlanger is joining with a development firm, Chatt East 3 LLC of Alabama, on the four-story project located just south of Women's East Hospital on a wooded five-acre tract. Erlanger will be leasing the bottom three floors at a rate of $16.05 per square ... (click for more)

After Productive Open Week, Vols Eye Gamecocks

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, Josh Malone, Colton Jumper, Ethan Wolf and Emmanuel Moseley spoke to reporters at a weekly press conference. No. 18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off of its bye week and next face South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 p.m. ET broadcast on ESPN2. ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)