Gov. Bill Lee’s signature education funding reform initiative passed today even as concerns have been raised that the plan will do little to fundamentally alter the status quo for school districts in a state consistently ranked 45th in the nation in school funding.
In response to the legislation, advocates with the Southern Christian Coalition suggested the plan does not meet its stated goals and even noted analysis suggesting the formula will mean a smaller percentage of state funds for 91 school districts (roughly 2/3).
“I call on our Legislature to adequately fund our public schools, and to invest in and care for the children of Tennessee, knowing that they are each made in the image of God,” said Rev. Laura Becker, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, and mother of one current student and one graduate of Hamilton County Schools. “All Tennessee students deserve the right to high quality and fully funded education that prepares them to achieve their full potential and successfully contribute to our communities and to our state. Unfortunately, Governor Lee’s proposed education funding plan called TISA doesn’t provide the funding necessary to address our teacher shortage, ensure students with special needs get the care they need, or ensure that every school has the resources they need to provide every child a quality education, so I call for a more just and equitable funding program.”
An in-depth analysis of the reality of TISA funding also shows the plan comes up short in key areas – most notably hiring teachers and teacher compensation. Without significant investment on both fronts, it is unlikely the plan will move the needle relative to the stated goal of improved student achievement outcomes.
Districts get a lower percentage of state funds. The teacher shortage persists. Local property taxes will likely go up. That’s the TISA reality.
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A group of Tennessee parents and public school students gathered at the Tennessee State Capitol this morning to express opposition to legislation that would effectively ban books from public school libraries by creating an “approved book list” developed by the Tennessee Textbook Commission.
At the event, Williamson County High School student Lindsay Hornick spoke about the importance of having a wide range of books in public school libraries.
Hornick said, ” Books allow us to learn about the world through a variety of lenses and create our own opinions on controversial topics. They teach us about the past in ways that explore the truth. No matter how difficult it may be to hear, the documented past allows us to learn and grow. It allows us to prevent tragedies from repeating.”
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