Senators Mike Bell and Dolores Gresham are questioning the materials the College Board is providing teachers.

Two Tennessee Senators Pick A Bone With Advanced Placement History Guidelines

August 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

The topics in history left out of guidelines for Advanced Placement U.S. History have left two Republican senators questioning teachers should cover in Tennessee classrooms.

Tennessee State University Tries To Defray ‘Sticker Shock’ Of Buying Textbooks

Tennessee State University Tries To Defray ‘Sticker Shock’ Of Buying Textbooks

July 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

The college has negotiated with textbook publishers to lower their prices — probably because not a whole lot of students were buying from them anyway. Students will now be able to access their general education textbooks online for $365 per semester.

Companies that distribute online courses are among the most successful in education technology right now. Credit: nyuhuhuu via Flickr

Education Startups Are Booming Nationwide, And Nashville Has A Few In The Mix

June 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm

But unlike healthcare, education remains just a tiny sliver of Nashville’s growing tech industry. One ed-tech founder says he only knows of three companies in the area that have traction and funding.

Nashville Public Schools To Follow City’s Lead On Recognizing Domestic Partnerships

Nashville Public Schools To Follow City’s Lead On Recognizing Domestic Partnerships

June 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

If the Metro adopts an ordinance extending employee benefits to same-sex couples, the school district will do the same. Without this decision, teachers and other certificated staff wouldn’t have been included.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke on a panel at Brick Church Middle School, which is transitioning to become a charter school. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

U.S. Secretary Of Education: States (Like Tennessee) Need ‘Courage’ To Implement Common Core

May 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Arne Duncan praised Tennessee for setting higher standards in schools but said the state is focusing on the wrong battles. His visit came shortly after state lawmakers delayed a testing portion of the Common Core.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives out pens to Overton High School students after the final ceremonially signing of the bill. Credit: Micah Bradley / WPLN

Governor Finishes Promotional Tour Of ‘Tennessee Promise’ Bill Signings

May 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Gov. Bill Haslam signed this bill into law today — for the seventh time. He’s been holding ceremonies around the state to talk about the push for more college graduates. The legislation will let any Tennessee resident attend community college for free.

Community Colleges Have Room For An Influx Of Students, But Will Tennessee’s Budget?

Community Colleges Have Room For An Influx Of Students, But Will Tennessee’s Budget?

May 5, 2014 at 4:55 am

The man in charge of Tennessee’s community colleges and tech schools says there’s plenty of room for an expected influx of students—around 5,600 over the next few years, according to one estimate.

Final Drafts Of Pivotal Legislation Could Be Written By Small, Select Groups Of Lawmakers

Final Drafts Of Pivotal Legislation Could Be Written By Small, Select Groups Of Lawmakers

April 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Methamphetamine, Nashville’s proposed bus line, and a new statewide test tied to the Common Core: All three have led to dueling proposals in the state House and Senate, and all three are being hashed out by select groups of six lawmakers, known as conference committees.

House Democratic Leader Craigh Fitzhugh (center) and Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (right) say to gain ground they have to capitalize on rifts in the GOP supermajority. (Photo courtesy Sean Braisted)

Amid GOP Rifts Over Guns And Vouchers, Democrats Claim Small Victories

April 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Democrats are claiming victory for a series of legislative misfires over the last two days, pointing to the demise of a pair of controversial gun bills as well as a hard-fought school vouchers plan. But the bills’ failures may have as much to do with Republican infighting.

State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

State Charter Authorizer Legislation Sent To Governor

April 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Charter schools trying to open in Tennessee could soon get permission directly from the state school board, if their local school district refuses. Legislation letting the state function as a so-called “charter authorizer” is on its way to the governor.

"We have the (Common Core) standards, but the implementation and the testing are still concerns," Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris told reporters Thursday. "A lot has been passed this year that deals with concerns we had about Common Core - not the standards, but curriculum, and data mining, and all those issues - and I think when the dust settles and people have a chance to look back and focus on some of these pretty voluminous bills, they'll see that we addressed a lot of the concerns that the public had about 'Common Core,' quote unquote, in general." (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Scratch One For Common Core Skeptics: Deal May Delay Statewide Test

April 11, 2014 at 2:28 am

A push to delay the test, known as the PARCC, set to start next school year, has been a flashpoint in the state legislature this spring.

Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

April 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm

The bill passed the House 63 to 27, with little debate, marking a distinct shift from a few years ago, when lawmakers called such young people “anchor babies” and sought to make Tennessee a less welcoming place for undocumented immigrants.

Dr. Claire Smrekar has a particular research focus on school choices, such as charter schools. Credit: Steve Green / Vanderbilt

Even If Vouchers Pass, Vanderbilt Expert Finds Few Available Seats At Private Schools

April 7, 2014 at 5:11 am

Many students who would qualify for private school vouchers would still have nowhere to go, according to a top education researcher at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. Associate professor Claire Smrekar finds few private schools are interested in accepting vouchers and those who would don’t have that much room.

Charter schools have to be non-profit entities in order to be authorized, but the bill would let the authorizer also approve contracts with for-profit entities. (Photo: camknows/flickr)

On 8-7 Vote, For-Profit Charter School Operators Approved By House Committee

April 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

A proposal to let for-profit companies manage Tennessee charter schools is headed for floor votes in both the state House and Senate, after the measure scraped by in a committee Tuesday on an 8 to 7 vote.

Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

Haslam Cancels Plans To Raise Pay For State Workers, Teachers

March 31, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee’s tax revenues have continued to sag below projections, and while he expects to avoid layoffs, the shortfall will scuttle planned pay raises for state workers, as well as teachers.

"Anytime there's a budget shortfall, anytime you don't have money, anytime you make tentative promises about pay raises and they don't come through, of course everyone's frustrated," Casada said. "And I'm sure the governor's frustrated too; we're all frustrated." (Photo via Rep. Glen Casada/Facebook)

Lawmakers Voice Irritation With Haslam’s New Plan For Budget

March 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Governor Bill Haslam’s latest budget proposal could be in for a rough ride before it gets approval from state lawmakers, if Monday night was any indicator, as representatives voiced frustration with Haslam’s latest plan.

Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) is carrying bills to rework Tennessee teachers' salary schedule and how (if at all) their licenses are tied to student value-added scores.  Both take a second look at policies set last year by the State Board Of Education. (Image via YouTube/

State Lawmakers Revisit Teacher Salary And Licensure, Say It’s Not A Turf War Or Repudiation

March 31, 2014 at 6:54 am

Two policies set last summer by Tennessee’s board of education are now being revisited by state lawmakers: how teachers can keep (or lose) their licenses, and how their salary is determined.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris says at issue is whether leftover voucher slots should go to students getting free-and-reduced lunch in districts with schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, or instead to those zoned for schools in the bottom 10 percent, per the House amendment, which would add in several rural counties. (Photo: WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Haslam’s School Vouchers Bill Lurches Forward, Amid Questions Over Who’s Affected

March 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

The governor’s school vouchers proposal is back in gear in the state Senate. The bill had stalled amid confusion over which students it would affect, and where in Tennessee.

Gov. Bill Haslam is under pressure, since a bill passed the state House earlier this month that would set back the test that comes with the Common Core educational standards. (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Haslam Ramping Up Defense of Common Core

March 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Haslam is trying to win over skeptical legislators, and asking for help from business leaders.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire opted not to push for a vote on Senate Bill 1951, saying he'll try again to pass it, and didn't want to taint it with a negative vote in the meantime. (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

For Immigrant Families And In-State Tuition, One Proposal Advances While Another Falls

March 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Tennessee senators drew a line Monday, over the cost of college for students whose parents are undocumented immigrants. The Senate voted to let those born in the U.S. pay in-state rates—but sidelined a proposal to help undocumented students born elsewhere.