Tennessee needs to reimagine how students can be ready for college and careers, nonprofit says
A report from one of Tennessee’s nonprofit voices on education says Tennessee needs to rethink what it means for students to be ready for college and careers.
The priority from the State Collaborative on Reforming Education is one of four priorities for 2019 the group released during a Tuesday event. The priorities are released yearly by SCORE, an organization that seeks to increase academic success among students.
Its top priority falls closely in line with Gov. Bill Lee’s goals to increase vocational and technical programs for students, especially in rural areas.
Despite improvements, SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said it hasn’t been enough to propel the state into the top in the nation in education.
“The next frontier in our work is helping to ensure that every single student discovers a route to college, career and opportunity,” Mansouri said.
The nonprofit also is pushing on Tennessee’s leaders to do more for teachers overall, including providing higher compensation for educators. Mansouri said that is necessary to keep the best teachers in districts. BY REGIONS BANKManage Your MoneySee more →
And the priorities calls for the state to continue its accountability measures for teachers and students, as well as for the state to innovate to improve student access. It calls for expanded access to quality schools — particularly charter schools — and innovations in school finance.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the founder of SCORE, said the innovations the organization wants to see are ones that are unique and individual to communities.
As well, Mansouri said Mansouri said the organization isn’t advocating for any certain changes to the state’s funding formula. There are lawsuits against the state by districts seeking more money for underfunded schools.
Instead, he said “the call is for flexibility for districts to use the money that the state gives them.”
A news release said the priorities were developed after statewide feedback from teachers, school and district leaders, policymakers, students and community and education advocates.
“These priorities come from the people of Tennessee and are for the benefit of the students of Tennessee,” Mansouri said. “Our state’s educators and new leaders will be integral to addressing these priorities, but we call on all Tennesseans to add their support in helping students be ready to achieve the American Dream after they graduate.”
- Reimagine College And Career Readiness — SCORE’s report calls on the state to create more options for career exploration and work-based learning across. The report also recommends redesigning high school to include more rigorous courses and more personalized career and college advising.
- Tennessee’s Foundations For Student Success — The group says that after a decade of improved student achievement, the state should focus and maintain policies that have benefited students, including maintaining student assessments and teacher evaluations
- Teachers, Teaching And School Leaders — SCORE’s report says that every Tennessee schools should offer excellent teaching, learning opportunities and leadership. The report says the state must better prepare leaders and emphasized schools must recruit and retain more strong educators, including through teacher pay.
- Innovate For Improvement — The report says Tennessee should look at how to accelerate student achievement and address long-standing disparities. It specifically recommends expanded access to high-quality schools, particularly public charter schools, as well as improvement of the lowest-performing schools and new ways to think of school finance.