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Education

Parents of Tennessee children with certain disabilities will likely have a new option next year. A bill headed to the governor’s desk would give 18,000 families access to the state and local money allocated for educating their child in public school.  

TN Photo Service

A new statewide program called Tennessee Reconnect will let anyone attend one of the state’s 27 technical colleges for free — but the state is facing obstacles getting the word out.

John Liu via Flickr

Common Core legislation is on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.

Tennessee senators voted 27-1 Tuesday afternoon to approve House Bill 1035, which sets up a new committee that will oversee efforts to rewrite the controversial education standards.

The move appears to mark the final chapter in a long-running debate over Common Core. The standards have become a lightning rod for criticism of the federal government's involvement in public education.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

The state Senate has turned back a last-ditch effort to save the Tennessee Virtual Academy, a decision that likely sounds the death knell for the struggling online school.

State education officials have ordered the virtual school, which is run by the for-profit company K12 Inc., to close this summer. They cite test scores that have ranked the school among the worst in the state each year since opening in 2011.

A plan presented Tuesday by state Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) would have given the school one final chance to improve. 

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

A proposal to create as many as 20,000 vouchers for private school tuition was withdrawn yesterday, after backers determined they didn't have enough votes in the state House of Representatives to get it passed.

Several voucher proposals have made it through the state Senate in recent years, only to founder in the House, where teachers and school administrators tend to have more clout.

State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) says it'll take an assertive push to break through to lawmakers.

Sarah McGee / WPLN

Jesse Register delivered his final “state of the schools” address as Metro Schools superintendent Wednesday, and Mayor Karl Dean gave the introduction with an uncharacteristic flare.

“I really do believe – it’s sort of like Joni Mitchell said – you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone," Dean said. "We had something really good here.”

Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr

The University of Tennessee says it wants to create an inclusive environment for students — but still has some work to do to get there.

The university system is holding a statewide diversity summit for its employees Wednesday, with the hopes of making diversity a higher priority.  

TN Department of Education

Tennessee school principals have gotten better at accurately grading the best teachers, but not those who need the most help. An annual report on the state’s teacher evaluation system finds administrators are still reluctant to give failing marks.

David Wright Smith / WPLN

Williamson County’s school district plans to put up temporary signs banning firearms in local parks when students are on site. The school board voted Wednesday in a special-called meeting to spend as much as $6,000 on moveable signage.

Emily West

Some four-year schools in Tennessee are anticipating declining enrollment in their freshman classes, because the state’s free community college program, Tennessee Promise, begins this fall. So schools like Middle Tennessee State University are trying to find new groups of students to recruit.

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