STAND FIRM ON TENNESSEE ’ S POLICIES THAT HAVE LED TO HISTORIC GAINS , WHILE SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVANCE INNOVATION
As Tennessee works to support educators and drive excellence and equity for all students , as a state we must not lose sight of the foundational policies that have put Tennessee in the national education spotlight . Policymakers and state leaders must recommit to the policies that have led to gains for students , while identifying and accelerating opportunities for new ideas and efforts .
Most importantly , Tennessee policymakers should provide stability for the state ’ s educators by not retreating on assessment , accountability , or academic standards . First , Tennessee must get implementation right on this year ’ s TNReady assessment , and policymakers should resist any efforts to either change directions on the state ’ s assessment or to allow districts to administer assessments in place of TNReady . In turn , TDOE , school districts , SCORE , and other partners should provide educators and parents with detailed information about TNReady results that will help them better support students .
Second , as noted earlier , Tennessee must continue its commitment to the state ’ s multi-measure teacher evaluation system . This commitment means resisting efforts to remove measures of student growth or no longer using the evaluation system for important decisionmaking within a school and school district .
Third , Tennessee must continue its current process of reviewing the state ’ s academic standards , setting a high bar and ensuring that expectations for students continue to rise . This priority is consistent with the perspective of a large majority of Tennessee voters . In a December 2016 statewide public opinion survey commissioned by SCORE , 81 percent of surveyed registered voters supported the state ’ s standards review process .
Looking ahead , Tennessee should identify and take advantage of the opportunities for innovation that will spur additional improvements in student achievement . This commitment includes opportunities within ESSA to develop and deliver an accountability system that serves Tennessee students ’ needs , allowing districts to be catalysts for change . It also means being innovative about the ways professional learning opportunities are designed and supported , such as micro-credentialing and peer-topeer coaching and mentoring . There is no one-size-fits-all model of professional learning ; teachers today engage in multiple opportunities for professional learning and inquiry that meet their individual needs .
Finally , better , more transparent and integrated data systems across state agencies should directly inform new innovations in early postsecondary opportunities , teacher preparation , and school improvement .