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 firstname.lastname@example.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