Penny’s Turnover

WPLN reports on more concerns being raised about Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and turnover in the department she leads. Here’s more:

It’s no secret that the agency is struggling to retain employees. According to data provided by the state, the turnover rate under Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s first nine months is about 18%.

Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, told WPLN News he’s been hearing from people in his district about the issues within the state agency and about the concerns of the turnover rate.

“What we have to (do) as legislators is we just monitor the situation and try to figure out what those factors are that’s contributing to the rate that we are seeing,” Hicks said.

Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, worries about the institutional knowledge in the agency.

“We do have concerns because of the amount of turnover, many from the institutional knowledge that we depend on to get answers,” White, the chairman of the House Education Committee, told WPLN News on Friday.

Earlier concerns raised by department insiders include a lack of readiness for this year’s administration of the TNReady test:

An employee still with the department sums up her concerns by saying, “There is a complete lack of urgency or understanding regarding the human resource needs to launch an effective assessment in support of the districts, schools, teachers, students and parents of Tennessee.”

The legislature reconvenes on January 14th. It will be interesting to see how these concerns are expressed.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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