In 2011, Tennessee was trailing the nation educationally. Ranking between 46 to 41 in reading and math for fourth- and eighth-graders, Tennessee needed to do better. And, remarkably, Tennessee did.
Our students now rank in the top half of all states for fourth-grade math and in the top 20 for fourth- and eighth-grade science. This progress came about with a collaborative, student-centered vision, courage in setting bold goals, excellence and innovation in achieving those goals, and an optimistic belief in the ability of Tennessee students to achieve at the high levels.
Our 2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee report updates readers with the work from the past year and sets priorities for the year ahead. These priorities form a student-focused “to-do list” to help continue the work to sustain our gains in student achievement and accelerate the pace of improvement in Tennessee.
This year, the list is focused and forthright, with three priorities:
These three priorities reflect both Tennessee’s progress, areas of improvement, and the goals that SCORE and education partners across the state strive to achieve:
• Maintaining Tennessee’s place as one of the fastest-improving states,
• Making real progress in narrowing long-standing gaps in educational achievement, and
• Enhancing the postsecondary preparedness of high school graduates.
Our vision is bold but also necessary. A better future for Tennessee students requires us to resist complacency with our initial success and to feel a sense of urgency in pressing forward. Improving education in Tennessee doesn’t just lift student outcomes today, it moves the entire state toward a more equal and flourishing society tomorrow. In these early days of 2017, I want to thank Tennessee’s educators, policymakers, and community and business members for your sustained effort. Our collective work has been exceptional, but it is not anywhere close to complete.
Very truly yours,