Alexander Says Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico Are Making The Most Of New Education Law By Designing Innovative Plans

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

At the Senate education committee hearing on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Chairman Lamar Alexander said that “Tennessee, Louisiana, and New Mexico have taken the most advantage of the flexibility we offered under the law in creating innovative state plans.”  

He said, “When President Obama signed our bill fixing No Child Left Behind, he called it a ‘Christmas miracle.’ I said that I hoped we were ‘unleashing a new era of innovation and excellence in student achievement – one that recognizes that the path to higher standards, better teaching and real accountability is classroom by classroom, and state  by state – and not through Washington, D.

C. ESSA put states back in the driver’s seat for decisions on how to help their students.”

Governor Haslam said last October, “We are on a long journey. We’ve done the hard work of raising expectations, investing more in education and letting our teachers and students show us what they can do, and again and again, our students and teachers are stepping up to the challenge.”

Senator Alexander on Tuesday said, “In my opinion, Tennessee has once again stepped up to that challenge.”

“The Every Student Succeeds Act is a historic piece of legislation because it represented that we can reach a bipartisan consensus on a topic of considerable differences – elementary and secondary education. That consensus was: Continue the law’s important measurements of academic progress of students but restore to states what to do about that progress.

“Despite a new law, a new administration, and Congress overturning an Obama-era accountability provision that did exactly what Congress told the department not to do, this has been a smooth process for states. As the department continues approving state plans, I look forward to seeing ways other states are taking advantage of the freedom to innovate under ESSA.”

The chief state school officers from Tennessee, Louisiana, and New Mexico testified at Tuesday morning’s hearing. These three states are among the first of 14 states -- 15 including the District of Columbia -- that have had their Title I plans approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Senator Alexander offered examples of the innovative approaches these three states are taking, saying: “For example, Tennessee’s plan includes a “Ready Graduate Indicator,” which demonstrates students’ readiness for more than just college after high school. If you’re a student who’s planning to join the military or workforce after graduation, this indicator shows the state you’re prepared. Louisiana has developed a career education initiative and a diverse course program, which means school districts will be able to offer students more career and technical preparation, advanced coursework, and dual enrollment.  After listening to teachers, school districts and parents, New Mexico has included robust student services in their plan. If you’re a parent of a child who needs early education programs or extra math help, this means they’ll be able to access those services.” 

The Senate education committee unanimously passed the legislation to fix No Child Left Behind in April 2015. In December 2015, ESSA was passed by Congress and signed into law. Alexander was the lead Republican sponsor. ESSA ends federal interference in state standards and ends the federal mandates on states to adopt the Common Core State Standards.

Alexander’s full prepared remarks are here.




Historic National Study To Reconnect With Tyner High Classes Of 1960-1963

In 1960, the students of Tyner High School became part of a landmark study called Project Talent. The study included more than 400,000 teenagers from all walks of life and presented a snapshot of a generation coming of age on the cusp of a new era. It was the most comprehensive study of American high school students ever conducted. This week, 58 years since the original study ... (click for more)

Baylor Receives CASE Circle Of Excellence Award

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education announced that Baylor School is among the winners of its 2018 Circle of Excellence awards.  The school's fundraising video, "Forever Forward:  The Campaign for Baylor School," was selected for a gold award in the long video category.  The winning entry was created to kick off the public phase of the school's ... (click for more)

Strong Winds Wreak Havoc In Chattanooga; Thousands Lose Power

A storm with wind gusts up to 70 mph did considerable damage in downtown Chattanooga around 2 p.m. on Saturday. Fencing along Miller Park was twisted onto a nearby lane of traffic on Market Street. A sizable tree was split, causing it to fall across Cherry Street between Third and Fourth streets. A number of traffic lights were knocked out of service. Several thousand ... (click for more)

2 Shot In Separate Incidents Early Saturday Morning; 1 Victim Is A Juvenile Girl

Two people were shot early Saturday morning in separate incidents. The first incident was at  3:30 a.m. when the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a person shot on the 1000 block of North Willow Street.  Upon arrival, officers made contact with the victim who was suffering from a gunshot wound.    HCEMS transported the victim to a local hospital ... (click for more)

Protecting Family Homes On Signal Mountain

The Signal Mountain Town Council will vote at their upcoming July 9 meeting on whether to approve a controversial rezoning application regarding property located at the northwestern corner of Albert Road and Taft Highway.  Prior to the rezoning request, Albert Road was the redline on Taft Highway past which commercial development within the town did not extend. This rezoning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Claude And "Mr. John"

There are some who believe this last week has been a devastating one for our community, losing two of our most beloved “builders” within three days of one another. Claude Ramsey, who spent over 40 years in public service and because of the type man he was never lost a political race, died on Monday after a hard fight with illness at the end. On Thursday we lost “Mr. John” Franklin, ... (click for more)