Rise & Shine: In-state tuition bill for undocumented immigrants clears first legislative hurdle

Good morning!

Undocumented students who graduate from Tennessee high schools must now pay out-of-state tuition to attend a Tennessee college. That's three times the cost of their classmates who are legal residents. But several lawmakers are trying again to change that. Read about the latest bill seeking to give all students access to in-state tuition, regardless of their immigration status.

Also, today marks the one-month anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. We've got the latest news on how Tennessee districts are handling today's #Enough! National School Walkout in protest of gun violence.

—Marta W. Aldrich


IN-STATE TUITION  A bill that would make it easier for undocumented students to attend Tennessee’s public colleges passes easily in a House subcommittee. Chalkbeat, The Tennessean, Times Free Press, The Associated Press, Nashville Public Radio

ENGAGING PARENTS  English class for parents at one Memphis school fuels a sense of community. Chalkbeat

EXPENSE REVIEW  In light of a $7.5 million shortfall with Nashville’s school district, two school board members call for a review of spending under Director Shawn Joseph. The Tennessean

DRINKING FOUNTAINS  A secret recording reveals a plan to sabotage efforts to protect Nashville school children from toxic lead in their drinking water. WTVF

WALK IT OUT  As students nationwide are slated to walk out today in protest of gun violence, Nashville school leaders bring a leader of the #MeToo movement to speak at its downtown magnet school at the same time. Nashville Scene

Tennessee districts communicate their walkout plans to educators and parents. The Tennessean, WTVF, The Jackson Sun, Daily News Journal, Cleveland Daily Banner, Times Free Press, Columbia Daily Herald

Spring break week means students at some Tennessee districts won’t participate. Knoxville News Sentinel

Major Tennessee colleges reassure students that any suspension due to participation in peaceful protests will not affect their application status with that university. WSMV

Here’s how school walkouts test students’ rights and schools’ responsibilities. NPRed

SCHOOL SAFETY  Wilson County’s sheriff announces new safety measures for schools in the wake of recent school shootings in Florida and Kentucky. The Tennessean

MIKE LOONEY  The director of Williamson County Schools says he’ll take a medical leave due to an upcoming surgery. The Tennessean

FAKE NEWS  A fake Twitter account for Dickson County’s schools director creates confusion. The Tennessean

EMPLOYEE PAY  With a statewide pay bump expected for teachers next year, Hawkins County’s school board hopes to give its bus drivers and noncertificated staff a small pay boost as well. Kingsport Times-News

ANONYMOUS TIPS  Hawkins County students and their parents may soon have access to a cell phone app to make anonymous tips about inappropriate or illegal behavior at school. Kingsport Times-News

POETRY OUT LOUD  A junior at Clarksville High School is Tennessee’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud champion. Clarksville Online

INTENDED CONSEQUENCES  When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw their test scores and attendance rise, according to a new study. Chalkbeat

EDITORIAL: NEVER AGAIN  America has failed its kids on guns. It’s time to let them lead. The New York Times


Undocumented students from across Tennessee pose Tuesday on the steps of the State Capitol with Gov. Bill Haslam, Rep. Mark White, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire. Brought to Nashville by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the students met with lawmakers and lobbied for a bill that would give them access to in-state college tuition, regardless of their immigration status. The students came from Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, Memphis, Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Sevierville. White and Gardenhire are the bill’s sponsors.