Rise & Shine: Lee says literacy remains a priority, despite shrinking funds for Read to be Ready

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday!

In recent days, many Tennessee educators and elected officials were caught off guard by the scope of funding problems for Read to be Ready, a major literacy initiative launched more than three years ago under Gov. Bill Haslam's administration. Not only is a statewide network of literacy coaches being dissolved this month, but the future of more than 200 summer reading camps is uncertain for next year now that a federal grant can't be used to pay for them. We caught up with Gov. Bill Lee to ask him about the developments during his two-day visit to Memphis. Here's what we learned.

On to more headlines!

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent

READ MY LIPS  Gov. Bill Lee says he’s committed to Tennessee’s reading goals but is reevaluating strategies as funding dries up for the state’s popular initiative known as Read to be Ready. Chalkbeat

The initiative’s reading camps for disadvantaged children were funded this summer, but are at risk next year Nashville Public Radio, Chalkbeat

CAREER PATHS  Many students in Shelby County Schools self-select out of lucrative career paths, according to tests administered last school year to assess the aptitudes of 1,800 middle schoolers. Memphis Business Journal

BUDGET SEASON  Shelby County commissioners consider whether to allow Shelby County Schools to roll over funds from their 2019 budget. WREG, Fox13

Williamson County commissioners will vote on a property tax increase in July to pay for schools. The Tennessean, WTVF

Washington County’s school board approves a 2% pay increase for teachers and staff. WCYB

MOVERS & SHAKERS  Adrienne Battle will be Nashville’s interim director for at least the next two years under a $285,000-a-year contract approved by the school board. The Tennessean

Hamilton County Superintendent Bryan Johnson is one of 46 people chosen for the seventh class of Leadership Tennessee. The Chattanoogan

HIGH SCHOOLS  Here’s how Tennessee high schools rank, according to a new U.S. News and World Report. The Tennessean, Knoxville News Sentinel

WATERSHED WORKSHOP  Fourteen teachers from Tennessee and four other states spend their summer break learning about biology in the cool waters of South Chickamauga Creek. Times Free Press

CAMP K  An intensive, four-week program to prepare rising kindergartners for school begins its second summer in Chattanooga after generating encouraging results last year. Times Free Press

SCAM ALERT  Williamson County Schools warns local businesses about scammers seeking to collect sponsorships for merchandise that promotes area high schools. Brentwood Home Page

WHO IS MARTIN KANE?  A Weakley County high school theater and French teacher wins almost $38,000 on the TV game show Jeopardy. The Jackson Sun

CHARTER DEBATE  Do charters sap resources from traditional district schools? Here’s what the evidence shows.  Chalkbeat

VIRTUAL COUNSELING  Rural students often go unnoticed by colleges. Can virtual counseling put them on the map? The Hechinger Report