What Is Next In Education For The General Assembly In 2022? – The Chattanoogan

What Is Next In Education For The General Assembly In 2022? – The Chattanoogan

Unless there is an unforeseen called special session, the Tennessee General Assembly will formally reconvene at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. There will be a special focus on drawing electoral district boundaries by the statehouse. This is called redistricting. Redistricting is the way they change the districts that determine who represents us. Therefore, it is of significant importance to every citizen in Tennessee.

Created in 1992, the Basic Education Program has been the main source of K-12 education funding. The BEP, or a new funding formula, will likely be front and center at the Tennessee General Assembly in education. We must pay close attention to the upcoming education funding debate in Tennessee leading up to the upcoming legislative session. We must spend funding more efficiently and modernize the system. Using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families dollars for school counselors and school nurses is something we support.

We must also remind ourselves that the quality of public education improves the personal growth and social development of children and makes a community a more attractive place to live. If we harm our schools irreparably, we hurt our future. Getting funding right, and not rushing it through the Tennessee General Assembly under a specific time frame should be the priority, as should be teacher salaries.

Legislation may be on the horizon that a future Commissioner of Education goes through legislative approval. We should see a push to require the state to create an annual strategic plan in K-12 education, just like LEA’s currently do. We may see legislation requiring the commissioner to present the plan for the state. In addition, appointments to the State Board of Education may need nomination input from the General Assembly.

It is also likely there will be legislation clarifying how the state can take over low-performing school districts. The state has recognized that the state-run Achievement School District (ASD) model was deeply flawed. The state created the ASD using a chunk of its $500 million Race To The Top grant, secured under former Gov. Phil Bredesen. Updating the process will allow for the Commissioner of Education to take over school districts. In Nashville, we know the state has already done this once. The state partially took over Metro Nashville Public Schools in 2008 when Phil Bredesen was governor. The interim superintendent fired more than 60 principals and assistant principals after five years of underachieving test scores. Some of the districts that are the highest per-pupil funding are among the lowest-performing. Those districts should be prepared to answer that question.

Today in Tennessee over 7,000 teachers are already eligible to retire and by 2024 that number will add another 3,300 teachers. We already have a teacher shortage in special education. We have a teacher shortage in math and science. We are seeing other teachers walking away, some in elementary and other key subject areas, as well. That is why we must embrace multiple pathways to teaching in our classrooms. There is a teacher shortage. We must figure out how to retain our current teachers while recruiting new teachers. There must be more options available to districts to meet this challenge.

Vacant teaching positions lead to increased class sizes, student behavioral problems, and the lowering of standards for hiring both permanent and substitute teachers. There are also huge …….

Source: https://www.chattanoogan.com/2021/12/30/440812/What-Is-Next-In-Education-For-The.aspx

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