NASHVILLE — The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) today released its annual State of Education in Tennessee report outlining 2023 education priorities for Tennessee. 

A Stronger Path Forward: 2023 State Of Education In Tennessee, highlights successes and opportunities in K-12 and postsecondary education in the past year and identifies research-informed policy and practice priorities to support Tennessee students.  

During the event today, David Mansouri, president and CEO of SCORE, said Tennessee should build on the state’s strong policy foundation by prioritizing initiatives to advance high-quality instruction for every student, urgently address the state’s college-going rate decline, and double down on preparing all Tennessee students for work. 

“This year, SCORE is zooming in on the connection between learning and work — and sounding the alarm that we can and must do better in strengthening this connection for students,” Mansouri said. “As we look to 2023, SCORE is calling on policymakers, educators, business leaders, and communities to reimagine the education-to-work pathway in Tennessee. It is time for schools, colleges, and industry to work together comprehensively so that every Tennessee student is ready for a career that enables economic independence.”  

The 2023 State Of Education In Tennessee report outlines three priority areas for 2023:  

Advance High-Quality Instruction For Every Student. To advance high-quality instruction for every student, Tennessee must prioritize research-supported policies and practices such as high-dosage tutoring, a scholarship to bolster the teacher pipeline, and support for high-quality public charter schools. With these and additional supports in place, Tennessee will have the potential to close longstanding opportunity gaps between student groups, particularly as the state continues to recover from the educational impacts of the pandemic.  

Address Tennessee’s College-Going Decline With Urgency. Tennessee experienced a concerning decline in the number of high school students immediately enrolling in college in the last two years at a time when most jobs require some level of training after high school. To actively work against this decline, Tennessee must advance as many proven strategies as possible — such as building momentum for going to college in high school, making financial aid opportunities more accessible to students, and bridging the gap between K-12 and higher education through summer programs that are proven to prepare students for successfully transitioning from high school to college.  

Prepare All Tennessee Students For Work. Our state is experiencing a period of significant economic growth, with hundreds of thousands of new job openings daily. But in the face of this growth and continued changes to the economy, not all Tennessee students are prepared with the postsecondary training required to enter and thrive in careers. To address this talent gap, state policymakers must use education and workforce data to drive decision-making and set bold education-to-workforce goals that focus on increasing postsecondary attainment and labor-force participation in high-wage, high-demand fields.  

Senator Bill Frist, MD, founder and chairman of SCORE, delivered the keynote address during the event. “Tennessee has taken bold steps to improve student success and workforce opportunity over the years, but we have more work to do,” Frist said. “To be successful in careers and to contribute to Tennessee’s economic boom, students need to have the tools, resources, and knowledge to succeed on the job — yet not enough of our policies and investments have focused on this connection between education and work.” 

The event included a panel discussion of 2023 education priorities. Speakers included: the Honorable Alberto Gonzales, Dean & Doyle Rogers Professor of Law, Belmont University; Leader William Lamberth, District 44, Tennessee House of Representatives; Clint Satterfield, director of schools, Trousdale County Schools; Dr. Arrita Summers, president, Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Dickson; and Yabsera Yosief, student, STEM Prep High School. 

Today’s event is one of three discussions SCORE is hosting with education leaders statewide to generate dialog around Tennessee’s education priorities for the upcoming year. SCORE will host East Tennessee education and community leaders in Knoxville on December 13 at the UT Baker Center for Public Policy and West Tennessee education and community leaders in Memphis on December 15 at the National Civil Rights Museum. 

Download The Report