Letter From Jamie Woodson: Across Tennessee, A Call For Public Education To Offer Excellence For All

Dear Friends, 

Next week, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) will release an important report that shares a collective vision for progress and priorities for Tennessee through the year 2025. The SCORE team has engaged and listened to almost 1,700 Tennesseans from across the state to understand what diverse stakeholders believe should be the next steps for our state’s students.

Overwhelmingly, we heard a clear consensus that Tennesseans want nothing but excellence and innovation for our students. Tennessee has experienced remarkable progress in student achievement over the past decade, including becoming the fastest-improving state on the Nation’s Report Card in 2013. This success has spurred even higher aspirations. Tennesseans want our students to be considered among the best in the nation and the world.

To achieve the dreams Tennesseans have for all of our students, we need to set priorities and work collaboratively and collectively to ensure academic achievement continues to advance in our state.

In response to the feedback from Tennesseans, SCORE has developed a list of priorities for K-12 education and compiled a report, Excellence For All: How Tennessee Can Lift Our Students To Best In the Nation. This report is grounded in goals already set by SCORE and in the Tennessee Succeeds strategic plan while looking farther into the future. The findings will help set a foundation for discussions of education issues during the 2018 campaign and the subsequent transition in state government in a good understanding of the past and the shared vision about the best way forward for students.

I look forward to sharing the report and its priorities on November 29. Our students deserve to continue the unprecedented progress in academic achievement to make this the best state for student success.

Very truly yours,

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Jamie Woodson

Jamie Woodson sets the strategic vision for SCORE as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and leads SCORE’s executive team and the organization’s efforts to build and strengthen partnerships with leaders in Tennessee and across the nation. She has been a leading figure in spearheading Tennessee’s efforts to better prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce. Prior to joining SCORE, she served for more than 12 years in the Tennessee General Assembly in both the House and Senate. As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and later as Senate Speaker Pro Tempore, Jamie was a key leader in efforts to identify and support effective teaching, overhaul Tennessee’s K-12 education funding formula, raise academic standards for Tennessee students, turn around low-performing schools, and expand high-quality public charter schools in Tennessee. In addition, she was a key leader in Tennessee’s work to transform public higher education by aligning Tennessee’s postsecondary system and the state’s economic goals through changes in academic, fiscal, and administrative policies. As a citizen legislator, she also served as general counsel for an East Tennessee manufacturing firm. Jamie attended public schools in Tennessee and received a Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was selected as “Torchbearer,” which is the highest honor an undergraduate may receive from the university.

The SCORE Sheet is the online conversation on public education reform in Tennessee and is hosted by SCORE. The blog mirrors SCORE’s collaborative nature and features contributors from Tennessee and across the country including students, parents, teachers, policymakers, community groups, and members of SCORE’s team. Regardless of perspective, contributors share a common goal: that every child graduates from high school prepared for college or the workforce.

Posts on The SCORE Sheet are the opinions of the individual contributors and are not necessarily reflective of the opinions and positions of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).