As an organization, The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) collaboratively supports Tennessee’s work to prepare students for college and the workforce. We work toward the goal of all Tennessee students graduating from high school prepared for college and a career.
More than 180 pieces of education legislation were put before the Tennessee General Assembly in its session this year, and I’ve been writing about the outcome of bills related to some of the important education priorities for our state. This final installment of a three-part series concentrates on measures that address the priority of supporting students from kindergarten to career.
-SB2471/HB2491: creates the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Program, revises the amount of award under the HOPE scholarship and the Wilder-Naifeh technical skills grant, and revises other provisions governing the HOPE scholarship and other lottery-funded financial aid. Under the state constitution, state lottery net proceeds must be allocated to provide financial assistance to citizens of this state to enable such citizens to attend post-secondary educational institutions located within this state.
–SB830/HB702: known as the “statewide charter authorizer” bill. Under present law, “chartering authority” refers to the local board of education or the achievement school district that approves, renews or decides not to revoke a public charter school application or agreement. This adds that the “chartering authority” may also be the state board of education, if the state board approves a charter school when a Local Education Agency (LEA) is the sponsor of a charter school or upon appeal from a denial of approval of a charter school application by an LEA that contains at least one priority school on the current or last preceding priority school list.
A charter school authorized by the state board and the LEA in which the charter school is located may, within 30 calendar days of such authorization, mutually agree that the charter school would be overseen and monitored by the LEA. This provision would also apply to charter schools renewed on appeal by the state board.
–SB2285/HB1989: revises the provisions governing the revocation or nonrenewal of a public charter school agreement.
–SB2338/HB1959– known as the “Parent Trigger” bill; would have authorized parents of students enrolled in a public school that is designated as a priority school or focus school to petition the local board of education for the conversion of the school to a charter school or for restructuring the school under a transformation model or a turnaround model. Failed for lack of motion in Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee.
–SB1684/HB1693– known as the “For-profit Charters” bill; would have removed the prohibition against a public charter school contracting for the management or operation of the charter school by a for-profit entity. Failed in House Calendar & Rules Committee.
These 3 bills would have established a scholarship program for eligible students to attend participating private K-12 schools and therefore outlined eligibility terms:
–SB0196/HB190: known as the “Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act”; Senate passed with a vote of 21-10, but the House companion bill was taken off notice in the House Finance Committee.
–SB2025/HB1908: Assigned to Gen. Sub of Senate Education Committee; Action deferred in House Education Subcommittee to next calendar.
–SB2455/HB4248: Assigned to Gen. Sub of Senate Education Committee; Taken off notice for Calendar in House Education Subcommittee.
-SB1112/HB1179: requires the state board of education to develop a uniform grading system for students enrolled in grades kindergarten through eight that LEAs may adopt and implement.
-SB1724/HB2252: redefines the definition of “high performing school district” for purposes of the High Performing School Districts Flexibility Act; authorizes an LEA to substitute an average student SAT score of 980 or higher for an ACT score of 21 or higher if prior to an LEA using the average student ACT or SAT score, at least 30 students within the LEA or at least 25 percent of the graduating class, whichever is larger, took the ACT or SAT.
-SB1863/HB2082: revises the provision regarding the number of days a student must have been in attendance in order for that student’s record to be attributable to a specific teacher to be 150 days of classroom instruction per year or 75 days of classroom instruction in a block schedule.
-SB2559/HB2453: requires every LEA to allow parents to review all instructional materials, surveys and evaluations related to their children. Requires the official operating policies of boards of education to provide that a parent or legal guardian is entitled to review tests that are developed by and graded by a teacher of the child.
-SB1760/HB1658: prohibits counting walking to and from class towards the minimum of 90 minutes per week of required physical activity for public school students.
–SB2002/HB1735: requires the Department of Education to collaborate with institutions of higher education to formally address dyslexia and similar reading disorders by providing K-12 educators and teachers web-based or in-person training providing effective instruction for teaching students with dyslexia using appropriate scientific research and brain-based multisensory intervention methods and strategies.
–SB2093/HB1969: makes the children of armed services personnel who were killed or reported missing in action eligible to attend pilot pre-kindergarten programs and requires licensed child care agencies to prioritize such children on any waiting list for admission.
For more detailed information on these and any of the legislation mentioned in this series, please visit the Tennessee General Assembly website here: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislation/.