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Updated May 15, 2018
It’s official! Results from Tennessee’s ugly testing year won’t count for much of anything
Tennessee teachers and school districts can decide how to use this year’s standardized test results and won’t suffer consequences if the scores aren't good.
Taking a hit
May 14, 2018
By getting testing wrong again, Tennessee could undo what it may be getting right
Many stakeholders worry that public outcry over this year’s sloppy TNReady testing will unravel years of carefully crafted accountability systems.
May 9, 2018
Tennessee’s messy testing season is finished, but how much the scores will matter is up in the air
Students turned in their last standardized exams on Wednesday, capping more than three weeks of on-again, off-again computerized testing for TNReady.
May 4, 2018
Does Tennessee’s emergency response to testing problems conflict with federal ed law? Stay tuned.
While legislation to address TNReady woes has eased concerns in school communities, it's raised a flurry of new questions about Tennessee’s plan under ESSA.
April 19, 2018
Tennessee lawmakers take matters into their own hands on TNReady testing problems
After more testing problems, the legislature votes to pull TNReady scores from this year’s accountability systems for students, teachers, schools, districts.
March 9, 2018
It’s not enough just to stay open, say Memphis parents of their struggling elementary school
Parents are glad Shelby County Schools rejected a state recommendation to close Hawkins Mill Elementary, but still have questions.
February 20, 2018
State’s most drastic school intervention plans won’t work, say Memphis board members
School board members suggest Hawkins Mill Elementary and American Way Middle instead move into the district's turnaround model, the Innovation Zone.
February 16, 2018
McQueen outlines state intervention plans for 21 Memphis schools
McQueen's letter offers the first look at how the state is pursuing school turnaround plans under its new tiered model of school improvement.
At what cost
February 1, 2018
Do schools lose ground when losing top teachers to turnaround schools? A little, but it’s worth it, says Tennessee research
New research addresses a nagging concern about the quest to lure top teachers to struggling schools.
January 29, 2018
Haslam proposes teacher pay hike for third straight year in Tennessee
Public schools would get an extra $212 million, including funding for increasing teacher pay for the third straight year, under Gov. Bill Haslam’s final proposed budget.
October 20, 2017
Thirteen Memphis schools among 169 honored by state for academics, growth
Thirteen schools in Tennessee’s largest district were among 169 honored on Friday as the state released its first list of “reward” schools since 2015.
good news bad news
September 19, 2017
Most Tennessee districts are showing academic growth, but districts with the farthest to go improved the least
It’s not just Memphis: Across Tennessee, districts with many struggling schools posted lower-than-expected growth scores on this year’s state exams, the data shows.
September 13, 2017
Memphis’ new iZone chief shares his data-driven plan for fixing struggling schools
Antonio Burt returns to Memphis as assistant superintendent over the program where he started as a turnaround principal.
September 11, 2017
Long before tragic bus crash, Chattanooga’s Woodmore Elementary offered school turnaround lessons for America
Almost a year after the crash killed six of its students, Woodmore is among five long-struggling schools now facing state intervention over academics.
A new way
May 17, 2017
Tennessee considers a new approach for getting local schools to improve: working with them
The State Department of Education is eyeing Chattanooga for Tennessee's first foray into a “partnership zone” approach.
April 4, 2017
Tennessee overhauls approach to low-performing schools under plan sent to Secretary DeVos
The state will delay its next “priority school” list by one year, while creating a new office to oversee low-performing schools and clarifying the role of its ASD.
March 29, 2017
How Memphis is taking lessons from its Innovation Zone to other struggling schools
Shelby County Schools is seeking to magnify the success of its iZone by replicating less expensive components of the school turnaround model.
March 28, 2017
Memphians weigh in on Hopson’s investment plan for struggling schools
Shelby County Schools holds a community meeting about Superintendent Dorsey Hopson's plan to address 19 schools dubbed "critical focus" schools.
March 13, 2017
Hopson wants to invest in Memphis teacher raises, student supports, struggling schools
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson unveils a $945 million spending plan that avoids the layoffs and cuts that have dominated recent budgets for Shelby County Schools.
February 21, 2017
Here’s what Superintendent Hopson told state lawmakers in Nashville about Memphis schools
Dorsey Hopson seeks to break the stigma and stereotypes of schools in Tennessee's largest district.
February 21, 2017
McQueen rips Tennessee’s school turnaround work as ineffectual, overdue
Calling outcomes "a little embarrassing," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen notes that the state has only moved 10 schools off its “priority” list since 2012.
January 26, 2017
Memphis wants to become ‘Teacher Town,’ especially to feed its ‘priority schools.’ Here’s the latest feedback from teachers.
A new survey offers insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where the city’s new teacher hires are coming from.
December 12, 2016
Your guide to district- and school-level TNReady scores
Tennessee soon will release district- and school-level scores from the state’s new, and supposedly harder, standardized test.
It's a start
December 6, 2016
Here’s a first look at how Tennessee schools could change under new federal law
The Tennessee Department of Education kicks off meetings about its plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act.
August 15, 2016
During its year off from school takeovers, Tennessee’s turnaround district eyes Chattanooga
Leaders of the Achievement School District will begin talks with district and community leaders in Hamilton County in the coming months, a spokesman says.
May 2, 2016
iZone chief Sharon Griffin on fixing Memphis’ most challenging schools
A Q&A on school turnaround strategies that work, the challenges of urban education, the importance of coaching and supporting principals and teachers, and more.
April 26, 2016
Six more Memphis schools to close; three others get one-year reprieve
The Board of Education for Shelby County Schools votes to close three more Memphis schools and revoke the charters of three others.
April 19, 2016
Building on Innovation Zone successes, Shelby County Schools to launch separate ‘Empowerment Zone’
Shelby County Schools' prized school turnaround initiative is getting a little sister.
Adjustments in Accountability
March 31, 2016
This year’s TNReady scores can’t put your school on the priority list. Here’s why.
In light of TNReady's bumpy rollout, the State Department of Education has new provisions in place for how student test scores will be used to evaluate low-performing schools.
March 10, 2016
Griffin hiring more top leaders for expanding iZone
As Shelby County Schools prepares to add more schools to its school turnaround initiative, regional Superintendent Sharon Griffin is putting three lieutenants in place.
February 10, 2016
Most private schools in Memphis on the fence about accepting state tuition vouchers
While Memphis would be most impacted if the state allows public funds to be used for private school tuition, many private schools are undecided if they will participate.
February 10, 2016
Latest school voucher proposal would restrict new pilot program to Memphis students
A new amendment to a hotly contested piece of voucher legislation scheduled for a vote Thursday would make Memphis the home of a pilot program to see how it works.
February 9, 2016
Seemingly on track for passage, school vouchers now face less certain path in Tennessee
Efforts to delay Monday's scheduled vote offers a foretaste of the battle ahead on Thursday, when voucher legislation is expected to go before the full House.
January 25, 2016
Chalkbeat explains what school vouchers could mean for Tennessee
Despite being debated for almost a decade in Tennessee, questions remain about the impact of proposed school vouchers. Here's what you need to know.
January 20, 2016
New ASD superintendent asks state lawmakers for patience on school turnarounds
Malika Anderson's first charge as ASD superintendent is to fend off bills to limit — or totally abolish — the district.
January 13, 2016
D.C. Public Schools officials tour Memphis iZone
The mounting success of Shelby County Schools' iZone attracts national attention from other districts exploring school improvement initiatives.
December 21, 2015
ASD school takeover process a ‘scam,’ say parents who worked with state-run district
The Achievement School District’s new engagement process, heralded by state officials as a way to ensure transparency and parental input, comes under attack.
December 11, 2015
Four more Memphis schools will join state school turnaround district
Tennessee's Achievement School District announces that it will take control of four more low-performing Memphis schools, increasing its portfolio to 33 schools statewide.
December 9, 2015
Five Memphis schools learn their fate on Friday — here’s what you should know
Five low-scoring schools will find out their futures, potentially affecting more than 2,700 students and their families, as well as about 180 teachers and staff members.
November 30, 2015
How a Memphis lawmaker quietly passed a law that may have kept your school from state takeover
The state's youngest legislator, Rep. Raumesh Akbari shepherded into law a new policy that has had a major impact on schools in Memphis and Nashville. Here's how.
November 10, 2015
What a teacher survey in Memphis’ ‘priority schools’ reveals about the obstacles facing ‘Teacher Town’
Among the findings: New teachers are moving to "Teacher Town," but most aren't traveling far, and teachers in priority schools increasingly look like their students.
October 30, 2015
Arne Duncan talks turnaround work in the trenches of struggling Memphis schools
The outgoing U.S. education chief makes his fourth trip to Memphis, where schools must overcome poverty and other mitigating factors to provide a culture of learning.
October 29, 2015
When Arne Duncan visits Memphis, he’ll see part of his legacy as U.S. ed chief
The outgoing education secretary will see firsthand one of America's battleground cities in the movement he spearheaded to transform public education.
October 26, 2015
Three charter networks apply to operate five Memphis schools
Three charter networks have applied to expand next year in Memphis as part of the state's takeover and charter conversion of five low-performing schools.
October 12, 2015
Neighborhood councils to consider state-proposed charters for six Memphis schools
Parents and community stakeholders are to be named this week for neighborhood advisory councils created by the state-run Achievement School District.
September 16, 2015
Philanthropic grant for $10 million ensures Memphis iZone expansion
The grant ensures the expansion of one of the embattled district's most successful initiatives at a time when federal funding for school turnaround work is drying up.
September 15, 2015
Hopson proposes big changes to three historic Memphis high schools
Shelby County's school chief wants to merge Hillcrest and Whitehaven, and turn East High School into a Science Technology Engineering and Math magnet school.
September 14, 2015
Community meetings begin this week over Memphis schools proposed for charter conversion
Parents, students and community members are invited to discuss the state of six academically struggling schools of which the state is seeking control.
Achievement School District
September 10, 2015
Six Memphis schools chosen for possible charter conversion by state turnaround district
Targeting to expand its footprint in Memphis for a fourth straight year, the Achievement School District unveils its list of schools for possible charter conversion.
August 19, 2015
Local district goes on offense in Memphis priority school discussion
For the first time ever, Shelby County School leaders meet with a school community to talk about what being on Tennessee's school priority list means.
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