Gov. Lee Shares His ‘Child Wellbeing Plan’ With First Lady Melania Trump

Gov. Bill Lee spoke by phone Wednesday with First Lady Melania Trump on a new task force to address children’s mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House said Penny Schwinn, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, also participated.

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Tennessee Students Still Struggle After Common Core ‘Rebranded’

  Students attending K-12 public schools in Tennessee are struggling to perform above average on national standardized tests. Partially adopted in 2010 and fully implemented by the 2013-14 school year, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) failed to produce the academic results expected. The Tennessee Department of Education and Governor Bill…

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Ruth, a Local Teacher, Calls in to The Tennessee Star Report and Explains the Difference Between a Lesson Plan and a Calendar

On Friday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the team discussed how Williamson County Schools failed to follow Tennessee State law by submitting a calendar for the academic year instead…

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Mark Levin’s TV Program Spends Full Half Hour on ‘White Privilege’ Videos from Williamson County Schools Obtained by The Tennessee Star

  On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy held a special discussion after Mark Levin featured the WCS boards in service training modules on…

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WCS Superintendent Looney and TN Dept. of Education Fail to Produce Evidence ‘White Privilege’ Training Is Legally Authorized

By Tennessee law, the Williamson County School Board is required to approve In-service training plans for teachers. As reported, this year’s In-service training of Williamson County Schools teachers for the academic year 2018-2019 includes a “Cultural Competency” video series that preached “white privilege.” At present, there is no evidence that…

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The Tennessee Star Report’s Gill and Leahy Discuss WCS Superintendent Mike Looney and the ‘Unresponsive’ Williamson County School Board

On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy discussed the legal implications of Williamson County schools Superintendent Mike Looney who has allegedly gone rogue and…

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Williamson County School Board Members Dodge Questions About Whether They Gave the OK to ‘White Privilege’ Training

By Tennessee law, members of the Williamson County School Board must adopt the In-Service training for teachers before Superintendent Mike Looney files it with the Tennessee Department of Education. Again, it’s state law. The Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE) website says so. Here is exactly what Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-6-3004,…

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Williamson County Schools Teacher on ‘White Privilege’ Training: ‘They Basically Are Telling White Teachers That We Are Racist. It is Super Offensive.’

A Williamson County Schools teacher who was forced to sit through the Williamson County Schools Competency Training Series video on “white privilege” contacted The Tennessee Star on Wednesday and delivered a searing critique of the in-service training created and mandated by Williamson County Schools superintendent Mike Looney. “Please investigate this as…

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Williamson County Schools Spending 22 Percent More on In-Service Training for Teachers This Academic Year

The Williamson County School System is serious about prioritizing its In-Service teacher training, so much so administrators spent 22 percent more on it for this 2018-19 school year versus the prior one. According to the school system’s budget, administrators spent $689,989 on their In-Service/Staff Development training this school year. For…

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Questions Surround Who Approved ‘White Privilege’ Training for Williamson County Teachers

Williamson County officials had the ultimate power to approve an In-service “white privilege” training curriculum for their teachers last month, said a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education Wednesday. But that’s inconsistent with the TDOE’s standards and practices on In-service teacher training, as specified on that department’s website. Tennessee’s…

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JC Bowman Commentary: What I Didn’t Say About the Departure of TN Dept. of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen

Tupac Shakur said, “Behind every sweet smile, there is a bitter sadness that no one can ever see and feel.” I spent time with Commissioner McQueen as more than a casual observer. Her heart and passion were always for the children and teachers in Tennessee.  She fought battles which nobody knew about and which, despite the lofty title in front of her name, she had little control. 

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Education Policy: 9 Issues to Address in 2019

Tennessee Star

Public education is not “broken.” Public education policy is “broken,” and neighborhood public schools are suffering the consequences.  Here are nine of the most critical and challenging issues in public education we should address in 2019 in Tennessee.

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Tennessee Might Bow Out of Nationwide Plan to Arm Teachers

armed teachers

Public schools nationwide might use federal money to arm teachers in class, but don’t look for  Tennessee to participate. “With very few exceptions, it is unlawful for anyone in Tennessee – educator or otherwise – to possess a firearm on school grounds,” said Sarah Gast, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Tone Deaf School Districts 

JC Bowman

“If you don’t understand — from the school district to the superintendents — that we want our teachers held harmless, then I’m sorry, you’re tone-deaf.” —-State Representative Eddie Smith (Knoxville). That message was heard and understood statewide, right?  Apparently not.  We are receiving reports from across the state that some districts are denying their teachers their justified and earned bonuses, which harms the educator.

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Gov. Bill Haslam Says Don’t Throw in the Towel on TNReady

Bill Haslam

Before he packs up and vacates the Tennessee governor’s mansion early next year, Bill Haslam wants a dialogue with you about ways to improve TNReady. Haslam, at the state capitol Tuesday, announced what he described as a listening tour to do just that. The current governor and a team of…

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Tennessee Department of Education Under Fire For Administrative Incompetence

Steve Gill

Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill was flabbergasted on Monday’s edition of The Gill Report – broadcast on Knoxville’s 92.3 FM WETR – regarding the repeated incompetence displayed at the Tennessee Department of Education. Gill commented, “The Tennessee Department of Education has stepped in it again.” He continued: One of…

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JC Bowman: A Few Thoughts on Educational Assessment and Evaluation

JC Bowman

The risk of misidentifying and mislabeling teacher performance based on test scores is too high for it to be the major indicator of teacher performance, especially when you look at issues such as student demographic characteristics. A number of states, including Michigan, have since taken steps to lessen the impact test scores have on teacher evaluations, repeatedly mentioning factors outside an educator’s control which can influence a student’s academic performance. 

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Tennessee Department of Education Announces Testing Changes

McQueen

The Tennessee Department of Education announced at a noon press conference on Thursday several changes to the state TNReady test that teachers, administrators and superintendents have been asking the state to make, the Professional Educators said in a statement released on Thursday. “Among the changes include rebidding the testing contract,…

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Problems Reported on First Day of TNReady Testing

After months of preparing for the annual year-end assessments, many Tennessee students struggled to log on to the TNReady testing platform Monday morning. The Department of Education says the problem was quickly fixed by the vendor, and over 20,000 students took the test after the problems were resolved. “We share…

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Further Testing Issues Show Implementation Problems at Tennessee’s Department of Education

McQueen

After three years and little success, the Tennessee Department of Education remains riddled with problems implementing statewide online testing platforms, TNReady. According to an email blast from Chief Information Officer for the Tennessee Department of Education Cliff Lloyd on March 6, the state’s online testing platform experienced more technical difficulties…

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Beth Harwell Calls for State Legislative Hearings on TNReady Testing Problems

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) is calling for state legislative hearings on problems with TNReady scoring. “We have made great strides over the last several years in education, and we must be diligent in ensuring we continue these gains,” Harwell said on Facebook Tuesday. “We know that accountability has been a…

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Tennessee Educator Survey Reveals Teacher Frustration With Testing, Flood of New Initiatives

Tennessee Star

  Tennessee teachers surveyed this past spring reported frustration with statewide standardized exams, while administrators surveyed showed more confidence in them. A majority of teachers disagreed with the statement, “Overall, information received from statewide standardized exams is worth the investment of time and effort.” Sixty-five percent disagreed, while only 35…

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With Some Gains, Tennessee Schools Still Struggle To Meet Goals Of Tennessee Succeeds

Tennessee Star

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Education commissioner Candice McQueen on Thursday outlined progress K-12 public schools have made toward meeting the goals of Tennessee Succeeds. McQueen spoke at the annual joint meeting of the State Board of Education and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission held in downtown Nashville. The Tennessee Succeeds…

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TNReady High School Test Scores Show Improvement ‘Across All Subject Areas’

On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the results of the latest round of student testing, which showed that “Tennessee high school students improved across all subject areas – English, math, science, and U.S. history – on the 2016-17 TNReady end-of-course exams.” “This growth is encouraging, and it shows…

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Tennessee Department of Education Runs Into Another Glitch In Delivering Standardized Test Results

  The Tennessee Department of Education has hit yet another snag in getting spring standardized test results to school districts. Questar, the vendor for TNReady tests, is having problems with its scanning software used to grade paper exams. The state was already having problems with delivering raw scores, partly because some…

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School Districts Across State Experiencing Delays In Getting Student Test Results

Tennessee Star

  A delay in getting standardized test results is frustrating school officials across Tennessee as they get ready to send out report cards and wrap up the year. As a result, many districts are opting not to factor in TNReady test scores for final grades. The problems come a year…

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Teacher Shortage Worries Tennessee Department of Education

Tennessee is scrambling to come up with ways to find and keep quality teachers in the classroom. The state Department of Education released a report last week that details the problem and outlines proposed solutions that focus especially on strengthening ties with teacher education programs in the state’s postsecondary schools. “More…

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Commentary: All Means All

Today, with inclusion being the norm, a teacher is given the unenviable task of teaching all students with individualized lessons appropriate for them. In some schools, there may be support from teacher aides or education specialists, but society demands (and rightly so) that each student be given the same opportunities.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Proposes Expanding Programs For English Learners

Tennessee Star

Metro Nashville Public Schools hopes to spend $4.7 million on adding numerous new positions next year to meet the needs of students who have a native language other than English. In the district’s proposed budget for the 2017-2018 school year, MNPS plans to add 31 English Learner (EL) teachers to…

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Low Test Scores, High Graduation Rates: Will Tennessee’s Retooled Testing Program Help Show What’s Really Happening With Student Performance?

Schools in Tennessee are getting ready for spring testing starting mid-April, hoping to leave behind the debacle of last year, when glitches in carrying out revamped tests caused headaches across the state. Hitting reset again this year potentially creates more hurdles in getting an accurate read on student achievement at a…

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