Rise & Shine: Tennessee’s special ed population is changing under its new academic intervention program

Good morning!

Just five years ago, Tennessee students who were poor, minority, or male were disproportionately labeled as having a learning disability that would stick with them through their school career. Today, the rates of minority and non-minority students identified with disabilities are nearly equal statewide, while the gap between males and females being placed in special education has also decreased. Today’s featured story explains what’s changed.

Also, Shelby County's mayor will give his final State of the County at noon today at Clayborn Temple. He told Local Memphis he's concerned taxpayers aren't getting their bang for their buck when it comes to education. We'll be at the speech, so stay tuned for our coverage.

— Laura Faith Kebede, reporter

EARLY INTERVENTION A new report credits Tennessee’s 4-year-old academic intervention program for decreasing the disproportionately high number of minorities and males being labeled as having a learning disability. Chalkbeat, The Tennessean

SCHOOL FINANCE Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell says he is concerned taxpayers aren’t getting enough bang for their bucks when it comes to education and plans to address the issue in his final State of the County speech today. Local Memphis, The Commercial Appeal

IN THE CLASSROOM Memphis students credit Peer Power, a mentor program that doubles as a teacher preparation program, with helping them improve their grades and have a more positive outlook on their education. High Ground News

STAX OF SUCCESS Soulsville Charter School in Memphis seeks to open a music-focused elementary school to feed into one of the highest-performing charter schools under Shelby County Schools. Memphis Daily News

MOVERS & SHAKERS School board member Kevin Woods is named the first Memphis market president for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Memphis Business Journal

GUBERNATORIAL CHATTER Tennessee governor hopeful U.S. Rep. Diane Black says children brought to the U.S. illegally should gain legal status through DACA — but not in-state college tuition. The Jackson Sun

CLASSROOM PROJECTS Teachers from Opportunity Zone schools in Hamilton County are invited to submit a project to a fundraising campaign to be matched by a local foundation. Times Free Press

BUS CRASH New evidence against Johnthony Walker, the bus driver charged with killing six children in Hamilton County, suggests he had a pattern of dangerous driving and cursing at children. Times Free Press, The Associated Press

LEARNING ONLINE Williamson County Schools will offer online courses to high school students next school year. The Tennessean

STUDENT SAFETY Williamson County Schools adds deadlines to its sexual harassment investigations policy after complaints of officials dragging their feet. The Tennessean

OVERCOMING ODDS A Christiana teacher who is legally blind shares her story. Daily News Journal

HISTORY EDUCATION The Southern Poverty Law Center releases a report declaring “the nation needs an intervention” when it comes to teaching the true nature of slavery in America. WKNO

SCREEN ADDICTION? Psychologists debate how to define overuse of social media and online video games in teens and what families can do about it. WKNO

OPINION A former Memphis teacher shares five solutions to America’s teacher shortage. Memphis Business Journal


Will we see you at Teach901’s job fair? Chalkbeat will have a booth at this event 6 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Crosstown Concourse. Come say hi!