In the state report card for the last school year, KIPP Nashville showed top marks across the board for value added scores, while listing nearly 90 percent of students as "economically disadvantaged." (Image via KIPP Academy)

Nashville Has Nowhere Near Too Many Charter Schools, Mayor Dean Says

November 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is beating back critics who say the city’s 19 charter schools are enough for now.

A Volunteer State staff member helps Madison Cone, middle, complete the Tennessee Promise application, along with the community college's application for admission. Her mom came with her. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Vol State Isn’t Sweating Over The Extra Interest From Tennessee Promise Applicants

November 24, 2014 at 4:48 am

If every student who applied for Tennessee’s free community college program actually went to community college, some schools, including Volunteer State Community College, would nearly double their full-time enrollment. But it’s holding judgment about enrollment increases until the next step of the application process.

Aspire is a charter school in Memphis that is part of the Achievement School District. The ASD has 23 schools for the 2014-15 school year. Five are directly run by the district. The rest are run by charter organizations. Brick Church College Prep is the only ASD school in Nashville. The rest are in Memphis. Credit: TN Photo Services

Two Nashville Schools Must Show Why They Shouldn’t Be Taken Over By The State

November 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

Two Nashville middle schools have one last chance to save themselves from state takeover.

Diane Ravitch, who writes a popular education blog and teaches at New York University, met with fans following an event at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night. In attendance were teachers union officials and some Metro school board members. Credit: David Wright Smith

Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville

November 20, 2014 at 5:50 am

A Nashville crowd of 400 was enthralled with education reform naysayer Diane Ravitch from the moment she was introduced by Metro school board member Amy Frogge to when she left the stage.

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

Tennessee School Boards Want Input On Picking Education Commissioner

November 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Tennessee’s school board members are hoping for a new education commissioner who might be more receptive to their views. Kevin Huffman, who announced late last week he’s stepping down, was seen – at times – as dismissive of local districts.

Governor Bill Haslam launched a review of Common Core earlier this month, and he says he really does plan to pay attention to the comments. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s Common Core Review Yields 15,000 Comments And Counting

November 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

In a process that began just 10 days ago, more than 15,000 comments have been submitted as part of a review of Common Core State Standards. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says he really does intend to listen.

Nashville’s Public Schools May Have A New Expectation Of Teachers: Door-To-Door Recruiting

Nashville’s Public Schools May Have A New Expectation Of Teachers: Door-To-Door Recruiting

November 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

Taking a cue from charter schools, some of Nashville’s undercapacity traditional schools have started canvassing for students. Some teachers are embracing the marketing role, even while acknowledging its just one more unpaid duty for educators.

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said he was brought to Tennessee to be a "change agent." He has defended Common Core standards, stayed the course on stepped-up teacher evaluations and unsuccessfully defended the state's participation in Common Core testing. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s Lightning Rod Education Commissioner Steps Down, Citing Toll Of The Job

November 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Governor Bill Haslam is going to have to find a new education commissioner for his second term. Kevin Huffman, who has often found himself at the center of controversy, is calling it quits after four years.

The East Nashville Advisory Committee met in the same room where there was an uproar Sunday night, in a meeting organized by parent activists with East Nashville United. Credit: David Wright Smith

How Much Input Will An East Nashville School Overhaul Advisory Panel Get?

November 13, 2014 at 5:41 am

In its first meeting, a special advisory committee for an East Nashville school overhaul heard an update for plans from central office administrators. But community organizer John Haubenreich says he heard too much from the district.

Moderator Kenny Byrd addresses Metro School Board Member Elissa Kim, who was questioned about having advance warning about a reorganization plan for East Nashville. Credit: David Smith

‘Antagonistic’ Meeting Shows Continued Mistrust In East Nashville School Overhaul

November 10, 2014 at 7:27 am

An East Nashville parent group is apologizing for the “antagonistic” tone of a meeting held Sunday night at the East Park community center.

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.

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.

A Volunteer State staff member helps Madison Cone, middle, complete the Tennessee Promise application, along with the community college's application for admission. Her mom came with her. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Promise’s Biggest Accomplishment: Adding ‘Free’ To College Conversation

October 31, 2014 at 4:53 am

The governor’s Tennessee Promise program guarantees that students can go to community college for free. And calling it free is more than a monetary statement: It’s also wildly effective marketing.

Rebecca Hargrove, CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, signs up to be a Tennessee Promise mentor. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Thinks Most Students Signing Up For Free Community College Won’t Actually Attend

October 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Almost three quarters of high school seniors in the state have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that covers community college tuition, which has doubled the state’s expectations.

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.

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.

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

What The State’s Largest Public College System Expects From Tennessee Promise

October 13, 2014 at 5:21 am

The Tennessee Board of Regents may see 5,000 to 6,000 new students next year — meaning students who otherwise wouldn’t attend a TBR school — as a result of Tennessee Promise. Four-year schools will be competing within the system for freshmen who could go to a community college for free.

Gov. Bill Haslam met with groups of educators in West, Middle and East Tennessee to talk about the benefits of Common Core as the state standards are under attack in the legislature. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Haslam Plans Mass Vetting Of Common Core, Commits To ‘Higher Standards’

October 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Governor Bill Haslam denies that his support for Common Core is softening. The questions arise because he’s spent more time defending “higher standards” than specifically Common Core in recent months.

Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register will visit each of the schools in East Nashville to explain what a "choice zone" might look like. The meeting pictured here is from Inglewood Elementary, which is well under capacity. Credit: Emily West / WPLN

How East Nashville’s ‘Choice Zone’ Would Work, Explained In 90 Seconds

October 1, 2014 at 7:16 am

East Nashville may soon become a petri dish for education reform. Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register has proposed scrapping traditional schools zones in favor of a special “choice zone.” That has parents asking what on earth a choice zone is. We gave WPLN’s Blake Farmer 90 seconds to explain.

Gov. Bill Haslam has been pitching his Tennessee Promise free community college plan around the state, like at this event in Greeneville. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee Universities Begin Adapting To Impact Of Free Community College

September 29, 2014 at 4:45 am

Four-year schools have sweetened scholarship packages and financial aid to transferring students.