Over the last several years, Tennessee has become a national leader in education reform by enacting bold policies to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce. Beginning in 2011, wide scale implementation of those policy commitments began. This made the last year Tennessee’s opportunity to prove whether it would be able to ensure that the policies we have passed – from raising academic standards to evaluating principals and teachers in new ways – would lead to positive gains for our students. The hard work of a broad range of partners has helped Tennessee’s students make the most academic progress in the state’s history. While Tennessee has shown that it was up to this reform challenge, much work remains to accelerate these improvements and ensure that all our students are graduating with the skills they need to compete in the global economy.

The 2012-13 State of Education in Tennessee report, which was released last month, highlights education priorities for Tennessee in 2013. While we have made significant strides in improving achievement outcomes for students, far too many of our students remain ill-prepared for life after high school. There is much more to be done, and we must sustain and accelerate the important work taking place now. The priorities for 2013 focus on the actions we believe must be taken to ensure that Tennessee continues its work to become the fastest improving state in the country. These priorities are based on the notion that in order to effectively implement reforms, educators need the right supports and resources. All of us—parents, educators, policymakers, business leaders, and community members—have a unique role to play in supporting educators and sustaining the reforms that have been put in place.

2013 Priorities:

  • Sustained Policy Leadership
  • Foster Great Teaching
  • Support School and District Leadership
  • Use Technology to Enhance Learning
  • Empower Parents

Whether we succeed or fail in this work over the next few years will have significant implications in the lives of the next generation of Tennesseans. We have already proven that we can rise to significant challenges as a state and overcome them to improve outcomes for students. As the link between producing an educated workforce and creating jobs remains of critical importance, it is imperative that we learn from our successes and challenges to continue on our pathway of improvement. Over the next few months, The SCORE Sheet will feature posts from educators and other partners about the importance of each of these priorities. Follow our blog to learn more about each priority, as well as tips, challenges, and stories of success in implementation.