Rise & Shine: Tennessee school turnaround models either haven’t worked or are stalling out

Good Wednesday morning,

As you gear up to head back to school next month, consider some new, sobering findings about education reform in our state. Tennessee’s state-run model for school turnaround hasn’t worked, according to new research, which also casts doubt on another locally run school-improvement program in Memphis.

The Achievement School District, or ASD, created to turn around Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools, has not generated improvements to student achievement during any of the district’s first six years, a research brief released Tuesday by the Tennessee Education Research Alliance shows.

The study also found that students in Shelby County Schools’ Innovation Zone stopped showing academic gains after the program’s first three years — a surprise to many followers who have become accustomed to hearing mostly rave reviews about the so-called iZone.

— Kathryn Palmer, reporting intern

LIMITS OF REFORM New research deals yet another blow to the credibility of the Achievement School District, the most radical reform strategy in a state that has pioneered school turnaround work. Chalkbeat

KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON Are there alternatives to closing schools? Parents in Chicago learn about options. Chalkbeat

CHANGING THE CONVERSATION What it means when Democratic frontrunners say they support the Strength in Diversity Act. Chalkbeat

SCHOOL FINANCE Franklin Special School District makes way for new buildings and teacher raises with $80.6 million budget approval. The Tennessean

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR? Numerous issues land Knowledge Academies on a potential closure list. The Tennessean

A REWARDING CAREER Teaching at Norman Binkley Elementary School provides Tameka Marshall a learning experience of her own. The Tennessean

A REASON TO CELEBRATE Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy has officially announced the launch of a $5 million endowment campaign in celebration of the school’s 10th anniversary. Chattanooga Times Free Press

BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES In Gibson County, more than two dozen churches and businesses have committed to provide all students at four elementary schools with supplies. The Jackson Sun

200 backpacks filled with school supplies will be distributed at MLK Center in Blount County on Saturday. The Daily Times