Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


Community Schools: How to Really Love Our Students

By Beth Brown, TEA Vice President and Grundy County Educator

In the back of my classroom hangs a canvas titled “How to Really Love a Student,” a colorful daily reminder for me to show my students “an abundance of understanding, patience, and grace”; to “encourage their abilities, talents, and gifts”; and to “love them as they are today…and also for who they will become.”

State's flawed graduation data advances "failing schools" narrative for privatizers

Flawed information damaging to schools is the last thing that should come from the state Department of Education. Yet there was a damning report released by the SDE on Tennessee’s graduation rate that turned out to be false. 

The state report claimed that approximately one-third of Tennessee high school graduates received a diploma without meeting the state’s requirements. The harmful report made headlines statewide and was even picked up in national news outlets.


Comprehensive polling data of 6,510 likely voters shows rural, urban and suburban voters statewide oppose vouchers. 
Polling includes oversample of Republican primary voters. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -  Tennesseans strongly reject private school vouchers, according to the largest and most comprehensive polling data on the subject. TEA extensively surveyed rural, urban and suburban voters in all three Grand Divisions of the state, with an oversample of highly-likely Republican primary voters. The polls were conducted May through October of 2016. 


Nothing demonstrated the power of support from parents and community better than the fight against school vouchers in the 2016 legislative session, and their support of Tennessee public schools and teachers is even stronger this year. 

Community groups like Students, Parents, Educators Across Knox County (SPEAK), Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE), and the Middle Tennessee Coalition Advocating for Public Education (CAPE) were instrumental in helping beat out-of-state privatizers with their school voucher schemes for the fourth year in a row. 


Click here for a printable flier to post in your teachers' lounge.

Teaching is often a challenging profession.

Studying best practices in public education has proven that having a fair and orderly process for issues that may arise helps teachers be the best professionals they can be.

Yet there is great confusion statewide among educators, administrators and local school boards on the status of teacher tenure in Tennessee.

Let's learn from voucher failures in other states

Tennessee gets more value for every education dollar than almost any other state. 

We are 45th in funding per student and 9th in on-time graduation rate. In fact, both our graduation rate and our average ACT score keeps going up. Money invested in public schools gets results.

These facts haven’t stopped privatizers from spending millions of dollars to push risky, unproven voucher schemes on Tennessee. For the past four years, TEA has been the number one opponent of vouchers at the General Assembly, and thanks to members, we’ve won every fight.

Problems mount when ACT scores are good and TNReady is bad

There is growing concern about the state tests.

One of Tennessee’s best performing districts, Williamson County, had a 2016 average ACT score of 23.8, out-pacing the national average by three points (or 15 percent higher), exceeding the threshold for college readiness. Scores from the new TNReady end-of-course tests, however, show only 44 percent of Williamson high school students are at grade level in math.