All children deserve a quality education – one that recognizes their unique learning needs and provides them with the resources they need to reach their full potential. Our families, communities, and futures depend on the quality of education we provide for our children. 

A: Academic Achievement

The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) formula is designed to provide increased state funding for students with the greatest learning needs. Research finds that targeting additional resources to these students can improve their academic achievement.

Despite a decade of rapid improvement in overall student achievement, the K-12 education system is underperforming for about half of Tennessee’s 1 million students, especially low-income students, students in rural areas, students of color, and students with disabilities. These students are not receiving the targeted learning support they need to meet grade-level expectations. TISA offers a way to fix that.

Recent research finds that increased funding that targets student learning needs can improve academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and life outcomes for students, particularly for students who are not yet on grade level in English or math. TISA also increases direct funding to achieve some important state goals related to improving early literacy and career and college readiness.

The new TISA funding formula sets a base amount of funding for each student and then provides additional funds, called weights, to support the education of students who have greater learning needs.

B: Bigger And Better Investment

The State of Tennessee is making a bold additional investment of $1 billion in new recurring state funds for K12 public education in Tennessee. The new, modernized funding formula will provide transparency and flexibility to address the needs of students in today’s classrooms.

Currently, Tennessee’s overall investment in education is at one of the lowest per-pupil levels in the nation. However, four out of five voters and 86 percent of parents support increased education funding in a recent survey by SCORE. The TISA proposal not only addresses how much Tennessee funds education, but how it funds education.

Additional funding alone will not deliver expected results unless there are robust tools for transparency and accountability. TISA provides greater transparency about where the money goes and whether investments produce results for students, allowing policymakers, voters, and parents to understand education investment decisions better and hold local and state leaders accountable for results.

C: Career And College Readiness

The funding formula will help districts improve students’ opportunities to be prepared for success after high school as they pursue higher education credentials and enter fulfilling careers.

When the BEP was created 30 years ago, 80 percent of jobs required only a high school diploma. Now, 65 percent of jobs require education past high school. To maintain a healthy state economy and tax base, Tennessee needs a well-educated workforce ready for high-quality jobs – but only about 33 percent of recent high school graduates are going on to earn postsecondary credentials.

The BEP underfunds college and career readiness efforts, while TISA provides weights for CTE students and provides additional funding to allow districts to be innovative in their advising approaches to prepare students for life beyond high school. Investing in students is good for the state’s economy because it helps prepare more of them to be ready to earn the credentials our employers require. And strong employers support a strong state economy.

TISA is a better investment of Tennessee’s resources in Tennessee’s greatest resource — our children.