Rise & Shine: Tennessee’s mediocre teacher prep programs prompt ‘interventions’ with university presidents

Good morning!

Tennessee's higher education chief called out the paradox yesterday about teacher training programs at the state's colleges and universities. Speaking to state lawmakers, Mike Krause noted that people in higher ed often lament how incoming freshmen arrive unprepared and in need of remediation. And yet, Krause said, those same institutions aren't adequately equipping the teachers who prepare K-12 students for college. Today's featured story offers an update on teacher prep — and how the state is trying to work with higher ed leaders to up their game.

—Marta W. Aldrich, bureau chief

TEACHER PREP  Armed with sobering data about the performance of teacher training programs in Tennessee, state officials are holding meetings with top brass at universities where they say programs have grown out of touch with the needs of K-12 classrooms. Chalkbeat

CHARTER OPENING  Shelby County Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says he’s willing to relinquish control over some struggling schools to private charter groups — if they have a plan for improvement. The Commercial Appeal

MARY PIERCE  The leading charter school advocate on Nashville’s school board announces she will not seek re-election. The Tennessean

SNOW AND ICE  Most Tennessee schools remain closed today. The Commercial Appeal, Fox13, The Jackson Sun, WSMV, Times Free Press, WBIR

It’s the sixth straight day off for many students, which can be tough for those who rely on the consistent meals provided at school. WREG

Here’s a look at how some school districts decide whether to close or not. WBIR, WATE

TAXES FOR SCHOOLS  Early voting begins today for a sales tax referendum to pay for school construction in fast-growing Williamson County. The Tennessean

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH  Jeff Moorhouse is poised to become the ninth permanent superintendent of Kingsport City Schools as soon as Feb. 2. Kingsport Times-News

STRATEGIC PLAN  Hawkins County’s school board sets the district’s new five-year strategic plan for its schools, including raising ACT scores and reader proficiency. Kingsport Times-News

ON THE OFFENSE  In some of her most expansive comments since taking the helm of the federal education department, Betsy DeVos criticizes Bush-Obama-era education policies and calls for an overhaul of conventional schooling. Chalkbeat

CHALKBEAT ROUNDTABLE  When Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green published an essay about the promise and perils of charter schools, her conclusions kicked off a discussion among our readers. Here’s what some had to say. Chalkbeat