Dear Friends,

Most of us here in Tennessee, especially those of you reading this letter, know of the tremendous work that has been dedicated to improving student achievement in our state. We are proud of the exceptional efforts undertaken to raise expectations, strengthen leadership, support excellent teaching, and use data and technology well to ultimately improve student learning. As often as we talk about what has been accomplished, it’s nice when someone from outside the state acknowledges those efforts, which is exactly what happened when The Education Trust-Midwest released the 2014 State of Michigan Education Report.

Ed Trust Midwest page squareFrom the opening line of the letter from Executive Director Amber Arellano, Tennessee is highlighted as a place where students, educators, community members, and policymakers are surpassing expectations through focused effort on improving outcomes for students. The report points out that our gains are a direct result of input from all stakeholders, strong leadership, dedicated educators, sustained commitment and investment over many years, and the fortitude to make difficult but necessary changes to improve education for students.

I could not agree more.

The report concisely summarizes Tennessee’s story and how our path of progress has been illuminated by collaboration and leadership, commitment to research-based and data-driven policy, and valuing and supporting the educators who are ensuring effective implementation of the policy.

I encourage you to take time to review the Education Trust-Midwest’s report. Not only can we learn much from what states as diverse as Michigan and Massachusetts are doing, but we also can benefit from being reminded that the eyes of the nation are on Tennessee. As such, we’re in a unique position not only to change the lives of our students but also to influence the education policy debate nationwide. By keeping our focus on students, we can and will continue to be a state that is considered a leader in working toward a brighter future for the children of Tennessee and the nation through exceptional public education.

Very sincerely yours,

Jamie Woodson