Rise & Shine: Will pre-K put the city of Memphis back in the education business?

Good morning and happy Monday!

For the first time since the city of Memphis ceased funding schools after the merger of city and county districts, city officials are exploring getting back into public education — by putting dollars into pre-K classrooms. Our Caroline Bauman has the scoop on what three city council members are proposing — and why it matters.

Also, curious which Chalkbeat stories were the most-read last month?  You can find out here, here and here.

—Marta W. Aldrich, bureau chief

PRE-K POTENTIAL  Three City Council members say they will introduce a resolution to support expanding public pre-K in Memphis, including finding a way to fund it. Chalkbeat

TAX BILL  After a high-drama vote, here’s what the Senate tax bill means for schools, parents and students. The Washington Post

HEALTHY SCHOOLS  A K-12 laboratory school in Johnson City is among 200 schools nationally to pilot a “smart thermometer” program to detect illnesses early. Johnson City Press

GET MOVING  With the help of a state grant, MTSU launches a pilot program to promote after-school physical activity for nine elementary schools in Sullivan, Meigs, Benton and Hickman counties. Daily News Journal, The Associated Press

TITLE I DISTINCTION  A Johnson City elementary school is named a National Title I Distinguished School. Johnson City Press

CHRISTMAS DELIVERY  Blue Cross Blue Shield makes its annual delivery of pajamas for students at one high-needs elementary school in Chattanooga. The Chattanoogan

20 MINUTES  Williamson County’s later school start times draws mixed reviews from families and employees. The Tennessean

AWARD  Dolly Parton’s foundation presents an award to a former Blount County teacher for overcoming adversity. The Daily Times

LEGO LEARNING  Greeneville students put their STEM skills to the test during a mock lego competition. The Greeneville Sun

BRANDING  Two new schools in fast-growing Spring Hill will be christened under the name of Battle Creek. Columbia Daily Herald

DEVOS WATCH  Why her allies say President Trump is the new obstacle of Betsy DeVos’s “school choice” agenda. The New York Times 

OPINION: PRE-K OPPORTUNITY  The long-range plan to move Memphis out of poverty begins by investing in public pre-K, says one city councilman. The Commercial Appeal

OPINION: FAKING THE GRADE  Was the education reform miracle in New Orleans a lie?  Several recent editorials say yes. The New Orleans Tribune, Stamford Advocate