Articles by: Blake Farmer

NAEP--the National Assessment of Educational Progress--is nicknamed the Nation's Report Card. The same test is given to a sample group of 4th and 8th graders in every state. It's not the same thing as the annual standardized exams taken by all students; those are designed by the state. Past disparities between results on the state tests and NAEP were one of the factors that lead Tennessee to create a more stringent set of standards and tougher state assessments several years ago. Credit: Jason Selicksar via Flickr

Tennessee Report Card’s Comparison Tool Dovetails With School Choice Trend

November 10, 2014 at 5:36 am

The Tennessee Report Card released this month shows detailed stats on each of the state’s 1800 public schools, from racial breakdowns to reading scores. But state education officials are highlighting another key function – side-by-side comparison.

Year to date, home sales are up more than five percent from 2013 with an especially big sales jump in September. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville Home Sales Continue Climb While Prices Slide In October

November 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Nashville area home sales continue to pick up the pace. Closings jumped 22 percent in October, according to monthly numbers out today from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

Miranda Lambert wins Album of the Year for Platinum with producers Chuck Ainlay (l) and Frank Liddell. Credit: Donn Jones / CMA

Miranda Lambert’s CMA Streak Breaks Record As Luke Bryan Wins Top Award

November 6, 2014 at 6:14 am

Country music has a new queen. Miranda Lambert picked up four Country Music Association awards last night, giving the 30-year-old a total of 11 CMAs – more than any other female artist in history.

Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is a teacher by trade and led some of the resistance to Gov. Bill Haslam's reforms and became a lead spokesperson for the Tennessee Education Association. Credit: Gloria Johnson via Facebook

Tennessee’s Republican Supermajority Gets Even Bigger

November 5, 2014 at 10:46 am

Republicans picked up a few more seats in the state legislature. Knoxville teacher and Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson fell to challenger Eddie Smith, who got big help from the state’s Republican Party.

Here's a screenshot from elections.tn.gov showing Amendment 1 election results. The gold counties indicate a greater number of votes against the measure.

Tennessee’s Abortion Amendment Reveals Rural-Urban Divide

November 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

Amendment One passed by a relatively narrow margin of 53 to 47 percent statewide. But the broad results mask the wide gaps between Tennessee’s urban and rural voters.

Fort Campbell soldiers from the 902nd Engineer Company begin to build the Buchanan Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia. Credit: DVIDS

Fort Campbell Soldiers On Ebola Mission Swing Hammers In Liberia

November 4, 2014 at 6:44 am

Fort Campbell soldiers wearing hardhats and fatigues have already gotten to work in Liberia building Ebola treatment units.

Currently, Volkswagen Chattanooga only builds the Passat. But VW would like to build a new SUV there. The other option is at a plant in Mexico. Credit: VW

Sales Of The Tennessee-Made VW Passat Are Going The Wrong Way

November 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

The only car currently produced by Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant dropped by 10 percent in October, and so far this year is down by more than a third compared to 2013.

The Nissan Leaf sold around 3,000 units last month.

13 Straight Months Of Sales Records For Nissan

November 3, 2014 at 7:54 am

Automakers release sales figures Monday, and Franklin-based Nissan North America is out first with another big month, stringing together 13 months of record sales.

Sara Heyburn is currently the assistant commissioner of teachers and leaders. Credit: TNDOE

Huffman Lieutenant Named To Lead Tennessee Board Of Education

October 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm

The board has hired Sara Heyburn, who is now the head of teachers and leaders in the Department of Education.

Roughly 75 parents and teachers attended a meeting at Churchwell Elementary Thursday night. Credit: David Wright Smith

District Won’t Close Underperforming Schools In North Nashville

October 31, 2014 at 6:46 am

Underperforming schools in north Nashville will remain open, according to district superintendent Jesse Register. Unlike East Nashville, Register says, there are not enough other schools for students to attend if one or two closed.

Voters wait in line to cast a ballot early in La Vergne. While there was a surge on the final day of early voting, totals are still well behind 2010 and even further behind 2006. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Late Surge In Tennessee’s Early Voting, But Totals Are Still Down

October 31, 2014 at 6:32 am

More than 13,000 people voted in Davidson County on the final day of early voting — even though only a few hundred a day were showing up during the first few days.

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 4. Credit: Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Poll Shows Many Tennesseans Undecided On Abortion Amendment

October 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Ads dominating the airwaves for and against Tennessee’s abortion amendment still may find a receptive audience. A sizeable share of voters haven’t made up their minds.

Christopher Yuan is now an instructor at Moody Bible Institute. He came out as gay when he was young, sold drugs through college and grad school and ended up in a federal prison on drug charges. He then converted and applied to go to seminary while he was still in prison. Credit: ERLC via Facebook

Speakers Who Say They Used To Be Gay Address Southern Baptist Leaders

October 29, 2014 at 9:00 am

At the Southern Baptist conference on homosexuality, pastors and church leaders heard the testimonies of four people who claim to be formerly gay.

Soldiers at Fort Campbell listen to briefings Thursday before leaving for Liberia later this month. Soldiers have been told they won't be in contact with the local population, but they are learning how to wear protective gear just in case. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Fort Campbell Soldiers In Liberia Knew 21-Day Isolation Was Likely

October 28, 2014 at 6:30 am

The Pentagon says a dozen soldiers – including a two-star general – are being held on a base in Italy before being allowed to come home. The Department of Defense says this will be the policy for the time being, though it’s not required by Pentagon guidelines.

Southern Seminary president Albert Mohler opened the Southern Baptist Convention's conference on homosexuality. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Southern Baptists Admit Errors On Homosexuality But Reject Gay-Affirming Churches

October 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

Southern Baptists say they’ve gotten some things wrong on homosexuality, but they still see acceptance of gay marriage as a line that cannot be crossed.

Southern Baptists ministers gathered in Nashville at the end of April to discuss sexuality. The October conference includes pastors as well as lay people. Credit: ERLC via Flickr

Baptists Ask If Gay Marriage May Be An Issue ‘Where We Just Agree To Disagree’

October 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

Southern Baptists are publicly wrestling with homosexuality this week. The Nashville-based denomination invited pastors and lay people to Opryland for a follow-up event to a similar, smaller summit on sexuality held earlier this year.

Why It Takes A Constitutional Amendment For Tennessee Veterans To Hold Raffles

Why It Takes A Constitutional Amendment For Tennessee Veterans To Hold Raffles

October 23, 2014 at 4:23 am

Veterans groups were left out the last time Tennessee overhauled gaming laws, and not necessarily by accident.

In September, Governor Bill Haslam held an education summit where he signaled the state would review Common Core. Credit: TN Photo Services

Haslam’s Common Core Review Is A Path Toward ‘Tennessee Standards’

October 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

More than 40 teachers, professors and administrators will spend the next year combing through Common Core education standards and suggesting changes. Governor Bill Haslam also announced Wednesday the state is posting the standards to a website in the coming weeks so parents can read them and offer their suggestions.

Early voting runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Nov. 4. Credit: Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Tennessee Voter Turnout Light So Far, Particularly In Nashville

October 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

By comparison, more people are voting every day in Knox County than over five days in Davidson County.

The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith

Williamson School Board Stops Just Shy Of Opposing Common Core

October 21, 2014 at 5:25 am

Every member of the Williamson County board of education voted for a resolution supporting local standards. But language saying the board “opposed Common Core” was ultimately stripped from the final document.