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Rise & Shine: Testing requirements would shrink for voucher recipients under Lee’s plan

Good morning and welcome to Monday!

Tennessee has fought hard to build testing-based accountability into its public school system. So educators quickly took note when Gov. Bill Lee proposed to ease off of that approach for students using taxpayer money to attend private schools. Students receiving education savings accounts — a newer kind of voucher under consideration by the Tennessee General Assembly — would have to take half as many annual assessments as their counterparts in public schools. Our featured story examines the potential gap in accountability, what's behind it, and what it could mean for Tennessee.

In Memphis, Chalkbeat's Laura Faith Kebede reports on a program that gets arrested teenagers back on track. It's also in jeoparding of losing funding.

And finally, TNReady testing ramps up this week across Tennessee. Email us at tn.tips@chalkbeat.org to tell us how administration of the state's annual assessment is going in your school, either online or on paper.

We have lots of other big news, so read on!

—Marta W. Aldrich, statehouse correspondent

 

DOUBLE STANDARD?  After a decade of building testing-based accountability, Tennessee appears ready to ease up with Gov. Bill Lee’s education voucher program. Chalkbeat

COUNTING HEADS  In a potential blow to the governor’s voucher bill, Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga says he’ll vote no tomorrow in a key committee meeting. Times Free Press

SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE  With its funding expiring, a Memphis program for students coming out of juvenile detention could end soon, despite a three-year record of job placement and low recidivism. Chalkbeat

CABINET SHAKEUP  Interim Shelby County Schools leader Joris Ray fires two cabinet members weeks before the school board votes on whether to end the search for a permanent superintendent or offer him the job. The Commercial Appeal

ARRESTED  Shelby County Schools board member Scott McCormick is charged with driving under the influence over the weekend. WREG, The Commercial Appeal

VACCINATION VOID  More than 600 kindergarten students were allowed to enroll in Shelby County Schools for the 2017-18 school year without documentation of full vaccination, according to state data.  The Commercial Appeal

RETHINKING HIGH SCHOOL  The design for Memphis’ new Crosstown High School is one of four projects to receive the highest award given by the American Institute of Architects. Daily Memphian

WELCOME  Shelby County Schools hosts a naturalization ceremony for 200 new U.S. citizens coming from 42 countries. Local Memphis

NO VAPING  A Tennessee bill that bans the use of vaping in schools heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. Times Free Press

SUPERINTENDENT SHUFFLE  Eric Jones tenders his resignation while finishing his second year at the helm of Jackson-Madison County Schools. The Jackson Sun, WBBJ

In Nashville, Adrienne Battle takes over today as the interim head of Metro Nashville Public Schools after last year’s departure of Shawn Joseph. Nashville Public Radio

HEALTH BENEFITS  Hamilton County school leaders explore the possibility of establishing on-site health clinics for teachers and district employees. Times Free Press

CASE CLOSED  Due to a lack of evidence, an investigation is closed against a Knox County commissioner accused of abusing a special needs student when she was a middle school teacher. Knoxville News Sentinel

RODENT ISSUES  Knox County Schools switches pest control companies as the district seeks to rid a magnet school of mice. Knoxville News Sentinel

MILESTONE  Tomorrow marks the 90th birthday of Rutherford County’s Campus School, a laboratory for teachers-in-training at nearby Middle Tennessee State University. WGNS

BUS BILLBOARDS  Placing advertisements on the sides of school buses provides an extra revenue source for several Middle Tennessee districts. Should others follow? The Tennessean

TEACHER PAY  Maryville school board members voice support for giving teachers a raise of at least 3.5 percent, even if it delays several capital projects. The Daily Times

DRINKING WATER  Three water fountains at two elementary schools in Washington County test positive for lead. WJHL

THE COLOR OF MUSIC  Students in five West Tennessee counties take home awards for artwork inspired by classic music from Jackson’s symphony league. The Jackson Sun

TEACHERS UNIONS  Two new studies paint a divergent picture of whether teachers unions contribute to better schools. Chalkbeat

CAMPAIGN FOR CURSIVE  Cursive writing appeared to be going the way of quills and parchment but — based on new laws in a handful of states — rumors of its death may be exaggerated. The New York Times

Extra Credit: Your cursive primer