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Rise & Shine: Lee wants school vouchers, Hopson wants fewer schools

Good morning!

As Bill Lee prepares to be governor and Dorsey Hopson prepares to exit Shelby County Schools, both leaders are making eye-raising comments.

In his most definitive public statements yet about his school choice leanings, Lee told USA TODAY NETWORK yesterday that he's open to promoting a school voucher program as part of his legislative agenda. The remarks came just days after announcing the addition of a second staff member who has worked for a pro-voucher organization.

Meanwhile in Memphis, Hopson says he'll unveil a plan today aimed at addressing a problem that has challenged the district throughout his tenure: too many schools and too many aging buildings. The outgoing superintendent's proposal would shrink the school system by closing dozens of schools over the next five years. Here's our preview from Chalkbeat's Laura Faith Kebede.

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.


SCHOOL VOUCHERS  Gov.-elect Bill Lee says he is open to promoting a school voucher program as part of his upcoming legislative agenda and commits himself to being an advocate for school choice in Tennessee. USA TODAY NETWORK

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION  Superintendent Dorsey Hopson is set to share a five-year plan to reduce the number of expensive, aging buildings in Shelby County Schools. Chalkbeat, The Commercial Appeal, Daily Memphian

DORSEY HOPSON  As he prepares to take a new job with Cigna, the outgoing superintendent reflects on his five-year tenure at the helm of Tennessee’s largest district. Memphis Public Radio

BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL  Gov. Bill Haslam says the key to better community college graduation rates among Tennessee students lies in improved results in the state’s K-12 system. The Tennessean

TNREADY FALLOUT  Why TNReady testing problems are Candice McQueen’s biggest regret as Tennessee’s education commissioner  The Tennessean

STATE REPORT CARD  Tullahoma’s superintendent questions the reliability of state data used to rate schools academically after the ratings show the district is slightly behind the state average. Tullahoma News

SCHOOL TURNAROUND  The roadmap to improve struggling schools includes retaining effective teachers and leaders, according a study recently published by Tennessee’s research partner. The Tennessean, Chalkbeat

SNOW DAYS  Knox County Schools’ decision to delay school yesterday instead of canceling it outright garners pushback from parents on social media. Knoxville News Sentinel

CLASSROOM LIBRARIES  A group of Chattanooga moms advocating for social justice issues such as gun control turn their attention to a more universal cause: raising awareness about literacy and reading. Times Free Press

CHRONIC ABSENCE  In Michigan, too few students are showing up to school, but one study says the root of the problem is really about unstable housing. Chalkbeat

SUSPENSIONS AND EXPULSIONS  Here’s what it will mean if Betsy DeVos rolls back Obama-era school discipline rules. Chalkbeat