On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn invited Tennesseans to participate in the full review of the state’s education funding formula and explore possibilities for a more student-centered approach.
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, the state’s current school funding framework, also known as the Basic Education Program (BEP), has not been meaningfully updated in more than 30 years.
BEP is the funding formula through which state education dollars are generated and distributed to Tennessee schools.
District and school leaders, elected officials, families, education stakeholders and members of the public will be engaged in the coming months through committees, survey opportunities, local meetings and more in order to reach a more student-centered approach.
Public engagement will focus on a student investment strategy that incorporates the following:
- Prioritizes students over systems
- Empowers parents to engage in their child’s education
- Incentivizes student outcomes
- Ensures all students, regardless of location or learning needs, are served at a high-level
- Reflects Tennesseans’ values
- Creates flexible funding that prepare students for postsecondary success
“We will pursue a rigorous review of our state’s education funding to ensure we are properly investing in students and stewarding our resources well,” Governor Lee said in a statement. “I invite every Tennessee parent to tell us about their current experiences as well as their hopes for the education, environment and experience in our K-12 public schools.”
Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn also released a statement, saying, “Tennessee’s students are the future of our state, and we’ve got to be sure our public schools are well-equipped to prepare each and every one of them for lifelong success. Consistent with our focus to continuously improve the academic achievement of all Tennessee students, we are excited to open public conversations and discuss an investment strategy that aligns with those goals and values.”
Individuals who are interested in participating in an exploratory committee should reach out to [email protected].
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]