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Rise & Shine: Backlash over teacher evaluations and student testing is growing

Good morning and happy Friday,

A growing wave of Tennessee school districts is declaring 'no confidence' with the way the state evaluates teachers and schools. Knox County Schools' officials are the latest to voice their discontent.

Knox County cited concerns with the state's scoring of teacher portfolios, the collection of work samples teachers submit to show student progress during the year. Earlier this week, the superintendents in Memphis and Nashville asked for a pause in state testing until after the election because of distrust in TNReady.

So far, there are no signs that the state will halt testing. State officials said teachers who received low scores because of mistakes in the portfolios can ask to have them reviewed again. The commissioner also has asked several superintendents to give feedback on upcoming changes to the portfolio process.

— Jacinthia Jones, bureau chief

NO CONFIDENCE Tennessee’s third-largest district voted Wednesday night to draft a letter of “no confidence” to the Tennessee Department of Education, Gov. Bill Haslam, and Knoxville-area lawmakers. Chalkbeat

UNEXCUSED ABSENCES A new program will place advocates in Shelby County Schools with high numbers of truant students. WMC-TV

RECRUITING INCENTIVES Knox County board members unanimously approved recruitment incentives up to $24,000 for new employees working toward a special education licensure. Knoxville News Sentinel

READING PARTNERS About 250 volunteers will be matched with second-graders in Jackson and Madison County to help improve students’ reading skills. The Jackson Sun

FEEDING A NEED A school food pantry in rural Hawkins County sends students home from school with backpacks of food. Kingsport Times-News