CHALK TALK  The new leader of Memphis’ Innovation Zone talks about the first things he’s done on the job, his observations about state-run schools, and how schools can help to reverse the effects of poverty. Chalkbeat

TEACHER CERTIFICATION  A Chalkbeat analysis finds that virtually every step in America’s common teacher certification process risks disproportionately excluding prospective teachers of color. Chalkbeat

RETHINK SCHOOL  What is Betsy DeVos’ “rethink school” initiative all about? Her speech yesterday in Wyoming offers clues. Chalkbeat

GOVERNOR’S RACE  Two Republican candidates for governor say they are opposed to letting Tennessee’s undocumented students pay in-state tuition, while other candidates weigh in on K-12 education. The Tennessean, Times Free Press, NewsChannel 5

STUDENT INFORMATION  Nashville’s school board makes clear it won’t share its students’ contact information with the state’s special district. The Tennessean

CAPITAL FUNDING  Germantown takes a major step toward building a new K-5 school by approving a bond issue of up to $34 million. The Commercial Appeal

CAPITAL AUDIT  A Chattanooga advocacy group urges Hamilton County Schools to audit its capital needs and create a multi-year capital plan. Times Free Press

FIRST RESPONDERS  Chattanooga firefighters who responded to last fall’s fatal school bus crash at Woodmore Elementary School receive state recognition for their efforts. Times Free Press

TECH ED PROBE  Knox County Schools investigates how its former career and tech ed director built a $400,000 culinary arts program that was never approved by the school board. Knoxville News Sentinel 

SCHOOL BOARD RACE  Nashville school board chairwoman Anna Shepherd will launch her third bid for her seat representing northeast Nashville. The Tennessean

GONE  A Cheatham County school board member resigns after being criticized for not attending months of meetings. The Tennessean

TIGHTENING EXEMPTIONS  More high school students in Cheatham County will have to take final exams this year under a policy change approved by the school board. The Tennessean

BIG TICKET  Despite not having a funding source in place, Williamson County commissioners vote to fully fund more than $9 million in improvements for Franklin High School. The Tennessean

RELIGION INSTRUCTION  A Dickson middle school teacher talks with families about what their students will be learning about religion this year during seventh-grade world history. The Tennessean

RELIGIOUS MUSIC  An Oak Ridge music teacher who played Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” for her students fields several complaints because of the anthem’s religious content. The Oak Ridger

STUDENT VOICES  The newest student representatives to Hawkins County’s school board take their places in an advisory capacity. Kingsport Times-News

AGAINST THE ODDS  A look inside of Nikolai Vitti’s early efforts to transform Detroit’s battered public schools. Chalkbeat