Tennessee | Understanding ESSA



April 30, 2015

TN: Education Commissioner Discusses Need for Data to Inform COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

March 31, 2021

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn discussed her state’s rationale for moving forward with assessments this spring in a Q&A with the Collaborative for Student Success. Schwinn detailed why data collection, in her department’s view, is so important to guide efforts to accelerate learning amid the...

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TN: State Launches School Spending Dashboard

March 10, 2021

The Tennessee Office of the Comptroller has launched an interactive dashboard for school-by-school spending data for every school in the state, building on the ESSA requirement that states publicly report per-pupil expenditure data starting with the 2018-19 school year. The Comptroller’s report on the data...

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TN: Three Bills in Special Legislative Session to Target Schools, COVID Learning Loss

January 16, 2021

Tennessee lawmakers are considering three education bills in a special legislative session this week to focus on addressing learning loss, particularly declines in literacy and math proficiency, amid the pandemic. The bills would temporarily suspend accountability requirements defined in the state’s ESSA plan, require interventions...

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Tennessee Officials to Use Federal Education, COVID Funds for Statewide Literacy Initiative

January 4, 2021

Tennessee will use flexibility granted by ESSA to use federal education funds, as well as a portion of the state’s COVID-19 recovery funds, to bolster resources and support aimed at improving literacy outcomes for Tennessee students. Noting that just above a third of third-graders in...

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Tennessee Lawmakers Call on State Chief to Slow Down Accountability Changes

September 11, 2019

Last week, Tennessee legislators asked Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to slow down proposed changes to the state’s accountability system, reports Marta W. Aldrich for Chalkbeat. “The commissioner wants to reexamine the state’s system for judging schools, which currently heavily weights ‘student growth’ by measuring learning...

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Tennessee PTA Awarded Grant

May 14, 2019

According to The Chattanoogan, the National PTA has awarded five states, including its Tennessee affiliate, with a grant to help inform parents about school report cards and “empower them to advocate to ensure this data is accessible, transparent and actionable.” ESSA “requires school districts and...

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Tennessee Releases New School Report Card

December 4, 2018

According to ABC 6 News, last week, Tennessee education officials released the state’s new school report card. The report card includes a “parent-focused tool that includes school ratings, English-Spanish translation and additional data on student groups among other features.” The state’s report card was put together...

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Tennessee Schools to Receive School Improvement Grants

December 3, 2018

According to The Chattanoogan, state education officials recently announced that ten schools in Tennessee will “receive grants to help spur school improvement.” These ten grants “will total $8.25 million for the selected schools and will provide funding to support specific strategies for school improvement in...

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TN’s School Improvement Plan Gets High Marks

November 15, 2018

Jason Gonzales also reports on Promise to Practice’s state findings, noting that Tennessee “is listed as a leader in its plan for struggling schools.” Tennessee received “strong overall marks” in the report, which “also gives the state the highest marks in one area of its plan.”...

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TN and Feds Finally Come to Agreement on School Ratings

September 5, 2018

After months of negotiations, “federal and Tennessee education officials have come to terms on how to identify and address the state’s lowest-performing schools in light of last spring’s problem-plagued student assessment program,” Marta W. Aldrich reports for Chalkbeat. This agreement “navigates conflicting state and federal...

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Tennessee’s Getting “Creative” on School Ratings

June 11, 2018

Marta W. Aldrich reports for Chalkbeat that Tennessee’s “plan to start grading its schools this year has taken a big detour,” thanks partially to recent online testing issues that “forced officials to toss out a new A-F grading system.” The state will now “rate each...

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Will Tennessee’s Fixes for State Assessment Testing Woes Run Afoul of ESSA?

May 4, 2018

According to Chalkbeat, in Tennessee, state education officials “are in daily talks with their federal education officials” over whether legislation meant to quell the public outcry regarding recent issues with the state’s assessments has put the state “out of compliance” with ESSA.

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Tennessee’s “Assessment Woes” a Potential Test for DeVos?

April 26, 2018

Alyson Klein also reports for Education Week that state lawmakers’ recent decision to give districts permission to “essentially toss this year’s assessment scores” because of major technical glitches could provide an “early gauge” of how flexible U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos intends to be...

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ESSA Driving Focus on Career and Technical Ed?

March 27, 2018

Meghan Mangrum reports in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that as districts in Tennessee and across the Southeast “seek to improve student achievement and states roll out plans” to comply with ESSA, “many of them have quietly—and not so quietly—moved toward enhancing career and technical...

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Student Attendance Takes on Greater Weight

January 2, 2018

In Tennessee, 10 percent of a school’s grade under the state’s new ESSA accountability system “will be based on the percentage of students who are chronically absent.” This figure “is based on the number of students who miss at least 18 days—10 percent of the...

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State Plan Submissions and Drafts

October 17, 2017

Approved State Plans Alabama: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Alaska: Final Plan Approved (5/16/18) Arizona: Final Plan Approved (9/6/17) Arkansas: Final Plan Approved (1/16/18) Colorado: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Connecticut: Final Plan Approved (8/15/17) Delaware: Final Plan Approved (8/2/17) District of Columbia: Final Plan Approved (8/28/17) Georgia:...

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Dept. of Ed Approves 4 State ESSA Plans

August 30, 2017

The Dept. of Education approved four state ESSA plans – the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, and Tennessee. “As more and more state plans come under the department’s review, I am heartened to see how states have embraced the spirit of flexibility under ESSA to...

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TN Utilizes Personalized Learning in ESSA Plan

July 26, 2017

Doug Mesecar, an adjunct scholar at the Lexington Institute, authored an opinion piece on ways Tennessee is utilizing personalized learning in the state’s ESSA plan. He highlights Tennessee’s use of blended learning for Algebra I, predictive analytics, teacher micro-credentialing, and competency-based education.

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TN Dept. of Ed Filed Legislation to Take Advantage of Opportunities ESSA Provides

February 2, 2017

In conjunction with State Representative David Hawk (R-Greenville), the Tennessee Dept. of Education filed legislation to “make the necessary changes to state law” in order to comply with the state’s ESSA plan. According to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen, “this legislation is designed to take advantage...

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TN Education and Equity Coalition Cites Assets & Shortcomings of Proposed ESSA Plan

January 19, 2017

The Tennessee Education and Equity Coalition sent a letter to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen citing “assets and shortcomings” of the state’s proposed ESSA plan. The organization “applauded the state’s attention to historically underserved groups like racial minorities,” but raised concerns that some students may “fall...

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TN’s Ed Commissioner Candice McQueen Outlines 4 New Goals for State’s ESSA Plan

January 11, 2017

During a town hall event with education leaders, Tennessee’s Education Commissioner Candice McQueen outlined four new goals the dept. is trying to achieve before the state’s ESSA plan takes effect. The goals for the plan include: 1, Tennessee ranking in the top half of the...

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TN Releases ESSA Implementation Proposal, To Collect Input Through Jan. 31, 2017

December 20, 2016

Tennessee officials released an initial ESSA implementation proposal on Tuesday, Chalkbeat reports. The state will collect public input on the 286-page plan through Jan. 31. “The feedback you share with us during this window is critical,” wrote Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen

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250 Stakeholders Attend ESSA Town Hall

December 15, 2016

250 stakeholders attended an ESSA town hall event with Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. According to The Tennessean, the event “focused mostly on proposed changes under the state’s ESSA draft to district accountability” and the “reporting of English language learner outcomes.” McQueen stated she would relay the...

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TN Releases Draft of State’s ESSA Plan

December 7, 2016

The Tennessee Dept. of Education released a draft of the state’s ESSA plan. The plan is available for public comment and feedback here.

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TN Task Force Discusses Metrics for New Accountability System

July 20, 2016

During a meeting with their 21-member testing task force of educators, politicians, and researchers, the Tennessee Dept. of Education discussed which metrics to incorporate into the state’s new accountability system. ChalkBeat Tennessee details which factors could be part of Tennessee’s accountability plan, and what the...

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TN Announces Working Groups to Focus on Standards and Assessments

June 29, 2016

In a press release, the Dept. of Education announced it has established six working groups focusing on standards and assessment, accountability, support for English learners, educator support and effectiveness, school improvement, and student support.

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TN Assemblywoman Encourages Constituents to Engage on ESSA Regulations

June 22, 2016

On her blog, Assemblywoman Susan Lynn encouraged constituents to provide feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on ESSA regulations. She points interested parties to a website from the State Dept. of Education comparing ESSA to current Tennessee policy, and directs them to provide comments...

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TN Launches Online Guide to Explain ESSA

June 20, 2016

The Comptroller of the Treasury created a new online guide to better explain ESSA. The guide breaks ESSA down into six key categories as they relate to Tennessee, and highlights the main changes for each area.

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TN Education Commissioner McQueen Announces Statewide Listening Tour

May 24, 2016

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and senior department leaders are launching a statewide listening tour to gather input from educators, key advocates, parents, students, and the public to determine how to implement specific components of ESSA. Read more here.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Releases State ESSA Primers

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s primers include individual state by state accountability system fact sheets, which detail each state’s current accountability system, what could change under ESSA, and what to be asking state leaders. See details about your state here.

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Senator Alexander Discusses ESSA Next Steps in Nashville

April 25, 2016

Senator Lamar Alexander discussed ESSA and next steps for states in a forum for educators and policymakers in Nashville. He encouraged Tennessee to develop their own plan and fit it into the federal template, rather than wait for the Dept. of Education to come up...

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