By Sally Absher



Legislators Scramble to Address TNReady Test Problems

Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville) have announced a joint meeting to look at facts surrounding the implementation of the TNReady Test.   Gresham said the purpose of the meeting is to assist the Department of Education with finding solutions to the problems faced with implementing the test.

The joint meeting will take place at 11:00 a.m. on February 17 in Room 12 of the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.


Community Schools Celebration

The public is invited to celebrate Knox County’s Community Scools Initiative with the League of Women Voters Thursday, February 25 at South Knoxville Elementary School. There will be a reception from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., with the program following from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Come see how the community school expansion is transforming communities and delivering results for more students. Knox County now has twelve community schools benefiting students, neighborhoods and even downtown development. South Knoxville Elementary, a thriving school in the heart of the new South Knox Waterfront District, is co-hosting this community-wide event along with the League. The school overlooks downtown, just east of the Gay Street Bridge, and is an important model linking schools to community development.

The event will also be honoring Community School Visionaries: Superintendent Jim McIntyre, Dr. Bob Kronick and Buzz Thomas at the reception at 5:30. The following program will include a tour, a gallery walk of the 12 Community Schools and conversation with the leaders.

For more information or to RSVP please call Jamey Dobbs at (865)548-0818 or visit


Knox County Political Action Committee for Education Endorses Four BOE Candidates

Four Knox County Board of Education candidates have received the endorsement of the KC-PACE, based on candidate interviews and questionnaires. The Committee endorsed Jennifer Owen in District 2 and Susan Horn in District 5. The Committee also endorsed Tony Norman (District 3) and Mike McMillan (District 8), who are both running unopposed in the upcoming March 1 Primary election.

Owen and Horn also received endorsement from SPEAK (Students, Parents, and Educators Across Knox County).


Voucher Bill Dies in the House

Last Thursday morning, Rep. Dunn tabled his controversial voucher bill, saying, “I’m not confident I have the votes to pass this bill… I’m not going to go forward with it.” Proponents of HB 1049 claim it would provide public-funded scholarships to allow high-risk students attending schools scoring in the bottom 5%, to attend private schools. But opponents argue that vouchers would divert desperately needed funds from public schools without showing proof that vouchers actually help student achievement. And few, if any private schools seemed interested in accepting public money with the strings attached.

Despite fierce lobbying and money from pro-voucher groups including Tennessee’s Beacon Center, StudentsFirst Tennessee and groups outside the state, teachers, parents, students, school boards, and county commissions spoke out against the plan. Beacon Center’s CEO Justin Owen blamed the defeat on democrats and teachers unions, but there were a number of republicans opposed as well, or Dunn would have had the votes in the House.