NASHVILLE – The State Collaborative on Reforming Education today released this statement from President and CEO David Mansouri about Governor Lee’s plan to review the state education funding formula:

In order to advance student learning, Tennessee needs a modernized school finance system that reflects the education needs of today.

Today’s announcement and this prioritization by Governor Lee and state leaders comes at the right time as we all help students and schools urgently recover from the disruption of the pandemic.

The state’s decades-long climb to reach the top of the nation in student achievement cannot be fully achieved without addressing the lingering disparities that are holding back a large proportion of the state’s 1 million students.

SCORE has spent the last year studying how education finance and school resources can be used to support better outcomes for students. Based on this research — looking at best practices from across the country, talking with school finance experts, studying financial modeling, and considering Tennessee’s unique needs — clear priorities emerge for how Tennessee could improve.

For all students to be successful, the state’s education funding formula should be driven by student need, provide more predictability and transparency, provide autonomy so that schools and districts can respond to local needs, and be modernized so that the funding formula corresponds with what is needed to provide an education for all students today.

Given Tennessee’s strong financial standing, the outcomes of Tennessee students, and research and data about what works to improve student outcomes, Tennessee is in a good position to address this timely issue. SCORE looks forward to engaging in the process that was announced today.