That’s what Senate Education Committee Chair Dolores Gresham had to say in terms of Tennessee’s education goals right after praising the state’s recent NAEP results.
Her remarks came at the beginning of a hearing her committee conducted on school choice earlier this week. They can be found just past the two minute mark in this video.
What’s frustrating is that she then proceeded to spend hours conducting a hearing that was nothing short of a celebration of all the supposed benefits of school voucher schemes.
Here’s a quick summary of some key arguments against vouchers.
The bottom line is they are expensive, can be susceptible to fraud, reduce accountability, and most importantly do not improve student academic outcomes.
While Gresham continues to put forward school vouchers as a solution to at least get Tennessee to mediocrity, the state’s BEP Review Committee is busy telling legislators that all the funding woes of the past have been miraculously cleared up.
After hours of hearings, we are still no closer to a path to that mediocrity to which Gresham hopes our state can achieve. At least we now have a clear understanding of her expectations.
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The Senate Education Committee is holding hearings on the Common Core State Standards this Thursday and Friday — the Thursday hearings begin at 1 PM.
According to Andrea Zelinski of the Nashville Post, 5 of the 14 speakers are having expenses paid by right-wing groups the Tennessee Eagle Forum and the 9.12 Project. Those five and two additional speakers are identified as being hand-picked by the Tea Party to discuss opposition to the new standards.
Here’s the full story, including the slate of speakers.
State Senator Rusty Crowe of Johnson City recently penned a column directly addressing his disappointment in the State Board of Education’s decision to link teacher licensing to student test scores.
Crowe suggests that using value-added data to inform teaching practice and even as a portion of a teacher’s evaluation is appropriate. But using it to take away a teacher’s license is not acceptable.
Crowe concludes his piece by noting that he expects some level of legislative intervention in the matter. Hardly an idle threat given that Crowe is a long-time member of the Senate Education Committee — the very committee that oversees State Board of Education action.
A simple, straightforward legislative intervention might be worded in such a way as to prohibit the Tennessee State Board of Education from enacting any policy that would cause a teacher to lose his/her license on the basis of student test scores. Of course, it may have to repeal any such policy previously enacted, but since the testing proposal doesn’t take effect until 2015, it may be sufficient to prevent its implementation.
While teachers have been under attack by state policymakers for several years now, it seems in this case, the State Board may have gone a step too far. At the very least, there’s sure to be legislative discussion around this issue in 2014.