Is This Who We Want on the Textbook Commission?

A national civil rights group is calling on the Tennessee Senate to reject the appointment of Laurie Cardoza-Moore to state’s Textbook Commission in light of her anti-Muslim views and her propensity to peddle conspiracy theories.

Here’s more from a press release:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today renewed its call for Tennessee to drop consideration of anti-Muslim activist and possible 9/11 truther Laurie Cardoza-Moore to that state’s Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission. Cardoza-Moore leads the Franklin, Tenn., group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN).

Last Fall, CAIR called on Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to rescind Cardoza-Moore’s appointment.

SEE: CAIR Calls on Tennessee House Speaker to Rescind Appointment of Anti-Muslim Activist to Textbook Commission

CAIR Calls on Tennessee House Speaker to Rescind Appointment of Anti-Muslim Activist to Textbook Commission

The Tennessee Senate Education Committee voted 7-1 Wednesday to move Cardoza-Moore appointment forward. Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) voted against the appointment. Cardoza-Moore’s appointment now moves to a vote by the full state Senate.

[NOTE: The 16-member commission oversees Tennessee’s list of textbooks and other educational materials recommended for use by public schools. Cardoza-Moore is already serving on the commission while awaiting confirmation.]

In her questioning of Cardoza-More, Sen. Akbari cited a textbook review from PJTN that seemed to promote the 9/11 truther hoax.

After referring to a textbook passage that said, “on September 11th, 2001, members of al-Qaeda carried out a terrorist attack on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania,” the PJTN report highlighted the phrase “members of al-Qaeda carried out.” The PJTN report stated: (page 23) “given the plethora of evidence, the reviewer suggests removing the underlined section of sentence. . .This is a highly contested (per architects and engineers for 9/11 Truth, and demolition experts) argument. . .There is ample evidence that refute the ‘official’ story of what was perpetrated that day.”

Akbari pressed Cardoza-Moore on these statements by her organization but did not receive a clear reply. “This person has peddled hate, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and a conspiracy theory about what happened on 9/11, the most tragic event the United States where 3,000 people died,” said Sen. Akbari.

In responding to another question by Sen. Akbari, Cardoza-Moore stood by her false 2010 statement that a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., was a “terrorist training camp.”

“Someone with such bigoted, un-American and conspiratorial views should never be in charge of any state’s educational materials, which are designed to help shape young minds in a diverse society,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw. “We urge the Tennessee Senate to vote down this appointment as a clear sign that textbooks must reflect facts and reality, not conspiracy theories and hate.”

CAIR Research and Advocacy Coordinator Huzaifa Shahbaz said: “Her anti-Muslim comments and conspiratorial views should be nowhere near an educational institution. Our students deserve to have an education free from hate. The textbook commission needs to do a better job in fostering a healthy environment for our students — one that acknowledges diversity and cultural differences.”

BACKGROUNDER:

PJTN initiatives include “Stop Access Islam.” Cardoza-Moore led opposition to a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and opposed a mosque in New York City. On “The Daily Show,” she falsely claimed that “30 percent” of Muslims “are terrorists.”

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Penny’s Power Grab

Legislation that would give Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn broad authority to fire a school system’s superintendent and remove the school board is advancing in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Chalkbeat has more:

A bill outlining reasons the state may take over a local school district cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday. 

Rep. Scott Cepicky, a Republican from Maury County, said his proposal aims to strengthen Tennessee law by providing a clear process for when the state education commissioner should take control of a district, which could include firing the superintendent and replacing elected school board members.

It’s no surprise that Gov. Bill Lee, who has long expressed distrust of local school boards, is behind this measure.

Cepicky’s comments in support of the bill, however, indicate he is disconnected from the reality of how schools operate in Tennessee.

“I’m here arguing for students, folks — the students that are trapped in failing school systems,” he said. “Most of our school systems are doing the best they can … but there are districts out here that are failing these kids year after year after year, and we’ve got to address that moving forward.”

It’s interesting that Cepicky serves on the education committees of the House, even chairing the Education Instruction subcommittee and yet he has made exactly zero moves to improve the state’s failing school funding formula.

If Cepicky would like to talk about who has been failing Tennessee’s students year after year after year, he need only look around at the legislature and note that the body’s majority party has done precious little to improve the situation.

Tennessee ranks 46th in school funding and consistently receives an “F” in both funding level and funding effort in national rankings. The legislature’s own advisory commission suggests the school funding formula (BEP) is $1.7 billion behind where it should be.

Still, Cepicky cheerily carries the water for a governor who has so far refused to demonstrate any sort of commitment to investing our state’s resources into schools in a meaningful way.

If only Cepicky chaired a key education subcommittee or sat on another education committee or maybe if he were a member of the majority party or a representative trusted to carry key pieces of the governor’s agenda, maybe then he could actually make a difference where it mattered.

Instead, he’ll have to be content to lament the failing schools allowed to beg for cash from a position of zero power or influence.

Oh, and since Cepicky is so concerned about failing schools, one can only assume he opposes Lee’s efforts to extend the reach and control of the Achievement School District.

I’ll be waiting for Cepicky’s statement on the matter.

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Opting Out of TNReady

Yes, you can opt your child out of this year’s TNReady test. This is true in spite of misleading guidance offered to school districts by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Fortunately, the advocates over at Save our Schools PAC offer some key insight into just how to accomplish this. Here’s a quick rundown:

There are only eight states that allow you to opt your child out of testing. Tennessee is NOT one of those states. However, there are no state laws in TN that require your child to take any TNReady test, so you and your child can refuse the test.

To refuse the test, you’ll need to make your request in writing and explain to your child why they will not be taking the test and to not be pressured into taking the test.

About a week prior to the testing window, send a confirmation email to the school principal. In this email, ask what your child will be allowed or not allowed to do during testing. We found this differs with schools and even with teachers within the schools. Most of the time, children will be allowed to read. You may also wish to hold your child out of school on test days. This could impact truancy reports, so be sure you speak to your child’s school about the impact of this decision. One parent who refused all tests was happy to keep her children home on testing days, knowing that if the school or state tried to punish her child for this decision, it would make a great news story.

If teachers, principals, or district leaders tell you can’t “opt out” because it hurts the school or district, you might share this with them:

There’s just one problem: The federal government has not (yet) penalized a single district for failing to hit the 95% benchmark. In fact, in the face of significant opt-outs in New York last year (including one district where 89% of students opted-out), the U.S. Department of Education communicated a clear message to New York state education leaders:  Districts and states will not suffer a loss of federal dollars due to high test refusal rates. The USDOE left it up to New York to decide whether or not to penalize districts financially.

See, no big deal. Except, well, Penny Schwinn wants to make it a big deal. Just like the previous Commissioner of Education wanted to make it a big deal.

Save our Schools offers some additional background:

The 2015-2016 school year was the first year for online testing, and it was a dismal failure. Measurement Inc.’s MIST testing platform frequently crashed due to a severe network outage. Quick scores were waived from being counted in student grades. The roll out of the new standards aligned with the TNReady test was delayed for a year when the legislature outlawed PARCC testing. As a result, the TDOE signed a $108M contract with Measurement Inc. using AIR as its subcontractor. AIR is affiliated with the Smarter Balanced test, a competitor to Pearson’s PARCC assessment.

On May 16, 2016, Candice McQueen sent out a letter to superintendents announcing the termination of the Measurement, Inc. contract on April 27, 2016. The immediate termination of Measurement, Inc. forced TDOE to spend yet more money on testing and execute an emergency contract with Pearson to score and report 2015-2016 assessments. The state hired a new test vendor, Questar Assessment, Inc., which received a $60M contract for 2 years. In June 2017, Measurement Inc. filed a $25.3M lawsuit against TDOE.

During the 2016-2017 school year, testing finally aligned with the new state standards for the first time, and TCAP was renamed TNReady. Due to prior failures, online testing was abandoned, and the TDOE returned to paper tests. However, there were still problems. Questar incorrectly scored almost 10,000 tests, which affected 70 schools in 33 districts. Quick scores were once again waived from being counted in student grades.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the TDOE attempted online testing again, and it was a complete disaster. Testing was abruptly cancelled midstream due to widespread technical problems. TDOE blamed an outside “deliberate attack” and a dump truck for the outages. Later, TDOE recanted and said that Questar was at fault. An attempt to print paper tests was initiated but soon scrapped, and testing was cancelled for the year.

The bottom line:

TNReady testing has been a disaster. Even before the pandemic. No matter who the vendor has been or how has held the title of Commissioner of Education. The results this year will likely yield almost no actionable information due to the overall disruption caused by COVID-19. And, what happens even in “good years” of testing?

The test is a demonstration of poverty – both among students and among districts:

An analysis of TCAP performance over time indicates that those school systems with consistently high levels of poverty tend to have consistently low scores on TCAP. Likewise, those systems with the least amount of poverty tend to have consistently higher scores on TCAP.

Much attention was focused on Tennessee and our “rapid gains” on the NAEP. Less celebrated by state officials was the attendant expansion of the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

One possible explanation for the expanding achievement gap is the investment gap among districts. That is, those districts with lower levels of poverty (the ones scoring higher on TCAP) also tend to invest funds in their schools well above what the state funding formula (BEP) generates. The top ten districts on TCAP performance spend 20% or more above what the BEP formula generates. By contrast, the bottom 10 districts spend 5% or less above the formula dollars.

It’s no accident that the districts that spend more are those with less poverty while the districts with less investment above the BEP have higher poverty levels. And, I’ve written recently about the flaws in the present BEP system that signal it is well past time to reform the formula and increase investment.

Of further interest is an analysis of 3-year ACT averages. Here again, 9 of the top 10 districts on ACT performance spend well above the state average in per pupil spending. The top 10 districts in ACT average spend an average of $900 more per student than the state’s average per pupil expenditure.

Opting out is up to you, of course. But, it’s definitely possible. Refer to Save our Schools for the guidance you need to make that happen.

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Lee Continues Predictable Privatization Push

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is no fan of public schools as he makes clear time and again. Whether it is advancing voucher schemes, creating charter school slush funds, or refusing to invest in our underfunded public schools, Lee is working tirelessly to undermine public education in our state.

Now, Lee is seeking to reward charter schools in Memphis and trap more schools in the failed Achievement School District.

Chalkbeat has more:

When Tennessee started taking over low-performing schools and matching most with charter operators in 2012, the plan was to return the schools to their home districts when they improved in an estimated five years.

Now Gov. Bill Lee is proposing other options for schools that have remained in the state’s turnaround program for nearly 10 years — most notably to let some of the higher-performing ones move from one state-run district to another.

Under legislation introduced this week, Lee proposed letting some charter schools bypass their original district when leaving Tennessee’s Achievement School District, also known as the ASD. Instead, they could apply to move directly to the state’s new charter school commission, which the governor helped to create.

It’s not like we couldn’t see this coming. In fact, warnings about Lee’s aggressive stance about privatization came early. In 2018, I noted:

Even though as early as 2016, Bill Lee was extolling the virtues of school voucher schemes and even though he’s a long-time supporter of Betsy DeVos’s pro-voucher Tennessee Federation for Children and even though he has appointed not one, but two voucher vultures to high level posts in his Administration, it is somehow treated as “news” that Bill Lee plans to move forward with a voucher scheme agenda in 2019.

In addition to the failure of the ASD to do, well, anything there’s also ample evidence of the failure of charter schools. Never mind the facts, though, Lee is committed to privatizing at all costs.

In 2019, I noted that charter schools in Tennessee and elsewhere are the “God That Failed” – taking money while yielding little in the way of results. Then, I suggested that in spite of all the evidence, Tennessee would continue down this path:

In other words, poverty matters. And, making the investments to combat it matters, too.


In other words, money matters. Districts with concentrated poverty face two challenges: Students with significant economic needs AND the inability of the district to generate the revenue necessary to adequately invest in schools.

But, by all means, let’s continue to worship at the feet of the Charter God hoping that our faith in “free markets” will be enough to move the needle for the kids who most need the opportunities provided by public education.

Plus, there was this great video demonstrating what must be the typical conversation around the Lee Administration’s privatization war room:

Remember when education advocates warned that Lee’s charter commission would grow, expand, and take over more schools and we were told that we were just being silly? Well, here’s how that seems to be turning out:

If the ASD bill passes, the commission’s role will expand, and its portfolio of charter schools is likely to grow. (The entity currently oversees three schools in Nashville and one in Memphis.) For now, the commission’s authority is limited as an appellate authorizer of charter organizations deemed to be high quality but rejected by local school boards.

What’s also interesting is the propensity of Tennessee policymakers to do a lot of talking that results in little action that helps students:

Tennessee leaders have been talking for years about how to exit ASD schools that haven’t met early improvement goals acknowledged now as too lofty. But because the transition involves everything from people and property to finances and governance, the state has found it almost as hard to transition schools out of the ASD as it was to take them over.

It’s as if there is no one leading anything other than the charge privatize public schools at all costs. ASD running into problems? Here’s an idea: Let’s let it continue to plague poor communities with little regard to actual results.

Will Gov. Lee creates confusion by attacking Confucius, our schools have real needs. Needs he seems content to ignore. This is not an accident, it’s an intentional act designed to decimate public schools. At this point, with a state experiencing a huge surplus (likely over $2 billion this year alone), refusing to fund public schools is a policy choice. It’s a choice that keeps being made over and over again. Sadly, it’s a choice that is made while some so-called public school supporters stand by and also indicate support for Lee.

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Sexton’s Anti-Muslim, Insurrectionist Choice for Textbook Commission Wins Committee Endorsement

The Tennessee Holler has the video of a House Education Instruction Committee hearing which approved Laurie Cardoza-Moore for a seat on the state Textbook Commission. Moore was appointed by House Speaker Cameron Sexton. The approval came on a voice vote, with committee Democrats voicing opposition.

Here’s a clip from that hearing:

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Did They Even Read This?

It’s not clear that the Department of Education previewed or even actually read the words in a document intended to dissuade parents from opting their children out of state standardized tests.

While activists in Tennessee and around the country are encouraging the Biden Administration to grant testing waivers, parents are not waiting and are taking matters into their own hands.

In fact, when one parent recently indicated to a school principal that their child would be “opting out” of state testing in 2021, they were provided with a one page document from the Tennessee Department of Education explaining that opting-out is not an option.

Here’s that letter:

Opting Out of Annual Assessments 

October 2020 Updated 10/19/2020 

What is the Purpose of Annual Assessments? 

Annual assessments are critical to ensure that all students are making strong academic progress. In Tennessee, one measure of  student, school, and district academics is through the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), which are tests  aligned with our state’s academic standards, outlining what students are expected to know, guiding educators as they design their  lessons and curriculum. As Tennessee’s teachers work to equip all students with the knowledge and skills they need, we have to  ensure that we can identify any major gaps in students’ learning and find variations in growth among different schools – both so we  can strengthen support in places that need it and learn from educators and students who are excelling. 

Results from TCAP tests give both teachers and parents a unique feedback loop and big-picture perspective to better understand  how students are progressing and how to support their academic development. This yearly academic check-up is the best way to see  how all students in Tennessee are doing, and it is one key measure through which we learn if are meeting our responsibility to  prepare all students for college and the workforce. Because of the importance of annual assessment, we believe it is crucial for all  students to take all TCAP tests each year.  

May parents opt their students out of testing? 

State and federal law requires student participation in state assessments. These statutes specifically reference the expectation that  all students enrolled in public schools in Tennessee will complete annual assessments. Therefore, school districts are not authorized  to adopt policies allowing these actions.  

No, state and federal law requires student participation in state assessments. In fact, these statutes specifically reference the  expectation that all students enrolled in public schools in Tennessee will complete annual assessments. Given both the importance  and legal obligation, parents may not refuse or opt a child out of participating in state assessments. Therefore, school districts are  not authorized to adopt policies allowing these actions.  

With the exception of students impacted by COVID-19 as described below, school districts must address student absences on testing  days in the same manner as they would address a student’s failure to participate in any other mandatory activity at school (e.g. final  exams) by applying the district’s or school’s attendance policies.  

What considerations may be made for students impacted by COVID-19? 

Students Impacted Medically by COVID-19 

A student who tests positive for COVID-19 and is unable to return to school to test may be exempt from testing following  appropriate medical exemption documentation.  

Supporting Students with Existing Health Conditions 

Students with health conditions, such as those who may be immunocompromised, may also qualify for a medical exemption, if the  school building testing coordinator or district testing coordinator is unable to accommodate the testing environment needed to  ensure student safety. Students with other diagnoses whose needs can be addressed with appropriate supports throughout the  school year should have a plan that includes the student’s needs during testing as well. Districts should follow accommodations  available to students as outlined in these plans, as long as they do not compromise test security or the validity of the assessment.  

Guidance for Classrooms and Schools Impacted by Quarantine 

In the case of a student, set of students, or school impacted by a quarantine due to COVID-19 in advance of testing, school districts  are strongly encouraged to schedule make-up testing opportunities that would be able to be administered at a date when students  could safely return to school. School districts typically schedule make-up opportunities shortly after their previously communicated  test dates but this Fall may choose to offer additional make-up testing opportunities for students later if they can plan with enough  advance notice to ensure test availability. 

Key Phrase

Here’s the key phrase (repeated twice in the letter):

These statutes specifically reference the expectation that  all students enrolled in public schools in Tennessee will complete annual assessments.

Note that no sections of Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) or United States Code (USC) are referenced here. Why? Because the codes that require students to take the tests do not exist. There are Tennessee regulations preventing districts from adopting policies regarding opting-out. Violation of such policies is subject to a penalty determined by the Commissioner of Education.

But, the laws on the books regarding students merely “reference the expectation” that students will complete the assessments.

Umm? What?

Did anyone at DOE read this “guidance” before sending it out? Does the staff there assume that Tennessee parents can’t actually read?

Your child “must” take the test because districts aren’t allowed to adopt policies allowing opt-out and because someone who wrote some statutes “expects” that children will complete assessments?

No. Just no.

That’s not how this works.

In fact, here’s something I wrote back in 2016 that is directly relevant now:

There’s just one problem: The federal government has not (yet) penalized a single district for failing to hit the 95% benchmark. In fact, in the face of significant opt-outs in New York last year (including one district where 89% of students opted-out), the U.S. Department of Education communicated a clear message to New York state education leaders:  Districts and states will not suffer a loss of federal dollars due to high test refusal rates. The USDOE left it up to New York to decide whether or not to penalize districts financially.

See, no big deal. Except, well, Penny Schwinn wants to make it a big deal. Just like the previous Commissioner of Education wanted to make it a big deal.

Dear parents: Don’t be bullied by letters riddled with redundancy from the Department of Education. Instead, push back on Penny’s petulance.

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Legislative Committee Approves Moore Appointment to Textbook Commission

After a 45-minute hearing, the House Education Instruction Committee approved the appointment of Laurie Cardoza-Moore to the state Textbook Commission on a voice vote. The opposition voices came exclusively from committee Democrats. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers attempted to steer the conversation about Moore away from comments she’s made publicly regarding slavery and the Islamic religion.

As a result of the committee vote, Moore is one step closer to legislatively-endorsed service on the state body that reviews and helps select textbooks for distribution in our state’s schools.

Here’s more on Moore:

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Laurie’s Last Stand?

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, an anti-Muslim activist and participant in the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will be considered for an appointment on the state Textbook Commission at a hearing in the House Education Instruction Committee on Wednesday, March 24th, at 11:00 AM.

Moore was appointed to the Textbook Commission by House Speaker Cameron Sexton. While most such appointments are approved with little debate or discussion, Moore is expected to generate at least some opposition.

In fact, Moore’s anxiety over losing out on the opportunity to shape Tennessee’s textbook choices was reflected in a column she wrote for the Tennessean:

I pray for a day, when parents in the Volunteer State can send their children to school with the knowledge that they are receiving a wholesome, accurate and unbiased American education.

She’s also a fan of encouraging her followers to “take back” America’s schools, as demonstrated in this letter about Dominion voting machines.

Apparently, taking back the schools has become a great source of profit for Moore. Just look at 2017, when:

. . . she paid herself $130,000. Then, she paid her husband’s business $67,000. There was a business “office expense” for occupancy at just over $49,000. She runs PJTN from her home, so that means she’s paying her mortgage with the cash. That’s $200,000 in payments to Moore and her husband, and another 50,000 a year to cover their mortgage. Then, there’s another $26,000 paid to Moore as an “occupancy expense.” Oh, and there’s $41,000 on “meals and entertainment.” Finally, her two kids received a total of around $2000 from the organization for “contract labor” that year.

Tune-in Wednesday to the hearing at the Cordell Hull building which could be Moore’s last stand in her quest for a position of influence and authority over what is taught in Tennessee’s schools.

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An Unattainable Burden

The current state of Tennessee’s school funding formula (the BEP) places an “unattainable burden” on local school districts, according to Katie Cour of the Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF).

The Foundation released a policy brief highlighting the shortcomings of the BEP this week.

Here’s more from the Tennessean:

The Nashville Public Education Foundation is renewing the long-time argument of many school districts, including Metro Nashville Public Schools, that the state’s Basic Education Program, or the BEP funding formula, is not adequate.

“Bottom line, the BEP consistently underestimates what it takes to run schools and places an unattainable burden on local districts to pick up the difference,” said Katie Cour, president and CEO of the Nashville Public Education Foundation, in a statement.

“Too often people feel relieved when they hear the state has ‘fully funded the BEP,’ but this statement is essentially meaningless. Tennessee is grossly underfunding schools that serve one million students each year – more than 82,000 just in Nashville,” she said.

Cour’s argument is supported by findings from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) which found that the state underfunds schools by $1.7 billion:

“Although the changes made in 1992 and since have resulted in substantial increases in funding to support the BEP, meeting local needs and the requirements imposed by the state and federal governments often requires more resources than the BEP funding formula alone provides. Consequently, state and local funding in fiscal year 2017-18 totaled $2.1 billion over and above what was required by the BEP formula, including a total of $1.7 billion in local revenue.”

Additionally, a study by the Education Law Center found that Tennessee schools are funded at $1 billion less than they should be based on not keeping up with inflation since 2008:

In fact, the Education Law Center has released a report noting that from 2008 to 2018, school funding in inflation-adjusted dollars in Tennessee actually decreased by $1,065 per pupil. To put it another way, had school spending kept up with inflation, our schools would see an additional $1 billion in state investment.

The push for more funds comes as the state experiences a record surplus in addition to funds coming in from the American Rescue Plan.

So far, Gov. Lee and legislative leaders have shown little interest in actually using this unique moment to make meaningful investments in the state’s schools.

abundance bank banking banknotes
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We Need a Bigger Pie

The League of Women Voters (LWV) is calling on Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly to take bold action on school funding. The group notes that the state historically underfunds schools and suggests that now is the time to change that reality. In fact, the push from the LWV comes as the state is experiencing an unprecedented revenue surplus.

Here’s more from LWV from a media release:

Chronically underfunded school districts throughout the  state have been especially challenged during the pandemic. However, the inadequacies and  the gross underfunding predate this stressful year. Tennessee currently funds its public school  system at a level that consistently places it in the bottom five most poorly funded states in the  United States, per the National Education Association.

“This goes beyond how you slice the pie to provide varying amounts of funding to the diverse  counties of our state – the pie itself is simply not big enough,” said Debby Gould, president elect of LWVTN. “The League’s position on education is that the state’s coverage,  implementation, and funding of the Basic Education Program should be adequate to assure a  high standard of public education.” 

Under the current formulation, the BEP allows for a per-student budgeted amount  that is $3,655 lower than the nationwide average, and lower than most southeastern states.  Because the BEP formula underfunds our public schools, it puts a heavy burden on communities  to supply the local funds necessary to provide an acceptable standard of public education for  students. 

Each year, a BEP Review Committee analyzes the formula and its results for the preceding year,  making official recommendations to the state for improvement. The committee’s latest report  recommends increasing the BEP teacher salary component to match what districts actually  have to spend. It also recommends increasing the numbers of school nurses and counselors to  meet nationally-recognized standards and increasing the number of interventionists to fulfill  requirements of a state-mandated program designed to keep students from falling behind, or  catch them up more quickly when they do. At the very minimum, Governor Lee and the General  Assembly should incorporate all BEP Review Committee recommendations and provide  recurring funding for them. This action would be a significant step toward adequately funded  public schools for all Tennessee children.

MORE on the inadequacy of the current BEP:

crop unrecognizable woman serving delicious pie on table
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