An earlier story indicated some staffers in the Tennessee Department of Education are worried the current climate there means the state won’t be ready for this year’s round of TNReady. Now, a new report in Chalkbeat suggests a department in turmoil, with high turnover and chaos in the ranks. Here’s more:
Tennessee’s education department has experienced an exodus under Commissioner Penny Schwinn, with almost a fifth of its employees leaving in the nine months since she took over.
The exits include people with decades of institutional knowledge, leaving many local school leaders wondering whom to call about everything from testing to information technology to early intervention programs for students with learning disabilities. Also gone are dozens of mid- and lower-level employees responsible for executing essential department responsibilities, including the state’s testing program.
For his part, Governor Bill Lee stands by the disruption led by Schwinn at the DOE:
“The Department of Education has a clear directive to challenge the status quo by developing solutions that best advocate for students and teachers,” Arnold said. “We are confident that changes in structure reflect a desire to build the most effective team that will deliver on this mission.”
While Lee seems ready to “disrupt” both the DOE and public schools, it’s clear that he’s not on board with efforts to disrupt poverty.
An alternative explanation? Bill Lee is not exactly sure how to run state government, so he’s just keeping his head in the sand.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport
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