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  • Science is a Key to America’s Future

    Monday, November 01, 2021 | 09:46am

    By Bob Eby, State Board of Education Vice-Chair At the heart of every field — medicine, education, and manufacturing to name a few — there is a constant need to ask questions and learn more information. Before we can seek to change anything, we must understand what it is and how it works. This spirit of inquisitiveness is first formally taught to us all in science courses. As we learn physical science, biology, chemistry, physics, and more, we not only better understand the world, but how to research and advance our knowledge of any subject. As a chemical engineer, science has shaped every step of my career. For more than 48 years, I have worked in applied research and development. During this period, I have been a co-author of three patents and seen major advancements in all areas of science and technology. Even now “in retirement” I am able to serve as a senior technical consultant to the National Nuclear Security Administration and work on some of our country’s most important future needs in an evolving environment. Science offers our students a valuable and rewarding lifelong career.

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  • Public Feedback is Advancing Tennessee’s Science Education Standards

    Friday, October 15, 2021 | 02:54pm

    On September 19, 2021, the first round of the State Board of Education’s science academic standards review cycle closed, collecting over 10,000 comments from teachers, education leaders, and parents. During the initial review period from August - September of this year, Tennesseans were invited to share their feedback on the state’s K-12 academic standards for science through an online survey. Members of the public were able to review the existing standards for all sections of the state’s science education standards as they shared comments. The survey offered options to indicate whether a standard should be kept, changed, removed, or moved to a different grade level, as well as space to indicate if a new standard should potentially be added. “Reviewing Tennessee’s science academic standards is the design process in action and helps ensure a higher level of learning is attained by students through teacher instruction,” said Brandi Stroecker, director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. “Including a wide range of stakeholders — such as parents, educators, and even students — creates a rich and robust set of standards by including multiple perspectives as they work to articulate the essential core knowledge and skills students should master.” With the conclusion of the first survey window, teams of Tennessee educators from K-12 schools and higher education will soon begin reviewing the public comments and propose revisions. Early in 2022, the revisions will become available again for public input in a second survey.

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  • Ten Years of Education Improvements

    Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 10:34am

    By Mike Edwards, State Board of Education member Having served on the State Board of Education for ten years now, I am struck by the many education changes we’ve seen in that time. When I served on the education committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we gave Tennessee an “F” for “truth in advertising” in education: while state assessments indicated that almost all students were proficient, national assessments like NAEP and the ACT indicated a much lower rate of preparation for post-secondary and career success. It has been important to me to identify and share reliable data on public education ever since to avoid this gap between the reported data and actual student outcomes. One area that I have focused on is educator preparation. Ten years ago, folks knew very little about the inner workings of each educator preparation provider (EPP). In between program reviews, there was no way of knowing whether an EPP was excelling or struggling. This knowledge gap limited our ability to make effective policy decisions about educator preparation, despite these programs being critical to building a strong pool of teachers.

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  • Tennesseans Invited to Submit Feedback on Science Academic Standards

    Monday, August 23, 2021 | 09:00am

    The State Board of Education is inviting residents to share their feedback on the Tennessee Academic Standards for science through Sunday, September 19, 2021. Established in law in 2015, Tennessee’s process for updating academic standards on math, English language arts, social studies and science is among the most transparent and comprehensive in the nation. This initial public survey on the science academic standards begins a year-long process that includes two rounds of public feedback and multiple committees of Tennessee educators. “The Board is privileged to have the legislative charge of carrying out reviews for the math, science, English language arts, and social studies academic standards,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “We eagerly await feedback from parents, teachers, and other community members on ways to improve our science standards that continue to prepare our students for success both in school and in their postsecondary and career plans.” The Tennessee Academic Standards for science include not only key facts and information about science, but also crosscutting concepts like examining cause and effect or using system models to understand a process. Science and engineering practices like analyzing and interpreting data and carrying out investigations are also integrated into the academic standards. “Standards establish a baseline for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each course,” said Catherine Johnson, policy coordinator for the State Board and lead project manager for the standards review process. “Standards build on each other over time, so having clear standards that incorporate key practices of academic disciplines, like STEM practices in science, contributes to our students being prepared for high-demand careers in those fields.” After the initial survey, teams of Tennessee educators from K-12 schools and higher education will review the comments and propose revisions. Early in 2022, the revisions will become available again for public input in a second survey. Following this second survey, the Standards Recommendation Committee — a public body appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House of Representatives, and confirmed by the general assembly— will review the proposed revisions and public comments and will deliberatively decide which standards to recommend to the State Board of Education for final adoption. These steps combine to permit input and vetting in a transparent and inclusive way. Following a year of educator training and the adoption of aligned textbooks and instructional materials, the revised science standards will be implemented in the 2024-25 school year. The State Board last received public comment on Tennessee’s science standards in 2016 and, following revision, approved the current standards in October 2016. During that review process, there were over 1,300 reviewers and 29,000 comments, each of which was considered by the educator advisory team as they updated the standards line-by-line. An overview of the academic standards review process is available on the State Board of Education website. ### The Tennessee State Board of Education is a ten-member, governor-appointed and legislatively confirmed board charged under the law with rulemaking and policymaking for K-12 education. Through a close partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Board maintains oversight in K-12 implementation and academic standards.

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  • State Board Streamlines Out of State Educator Licensure

    Thursday, July 01, 2021 | 04:08pm

    On Thursday, members of the State Board of Education met to vote on time-sensitive emergency rules, including the Educator Licensure Emergency Rule. This item streamlines pathways for educators licensed in other states to obtain a Tennessee license. The emergency rule also includes provisions to allow formerly licensed Tennessee teachers with an active out of state license to reactivate their Tennessee license. “We know districts are making final hiring decisions now for the upcoming school year, and they need to be sure prospective educators are eligible to obtain a license,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “That is why we convened this meeting to update our rules the same day that recent statutory changes went into effect.” The provisions included in the Educator Licensure Emergency Rule were established earlier this year in Public Chapters 125 and 493. These laws go into effect on July 1, 2021. By aligning the State Board’s educator licensure rule with the recently passed laws, educators can have their licensure applications processed more quickly. These changes will help local education agencies (LEAs) with hiring decisions over the summer. During the special called meeting, members of the Board considered two other emergency rules in the areas of virtual education and quarantine protocols. The Public Virtual Schools Emergency Rule clarifies the difference between full-time virtual schools and virtual course options a student may take to expand their educational opportunities while enrolled in their traditional school. These options can include advanced or accelerated course programs as well as remedial opportunities.

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  • Media Advisory: State Board to Streamline Licensure for Out of State Teachers

    Tuesday, June 29, 2021 | 01:50pm

    On Thursday, members of the State Board of Education will convene to vote on time-sensitive emergency rules, including the Educator Licensure Emergency Rule. This item streamlines pathways for educators licensed in other states to obtain a Tennessee license. The emergency rule also includes provisions to allow formerly licensed Tennessee teachers with an active out of state license to reactivate their Tennessee license. The provisions included in the Educator Licensure Emergency Rule were established earlier this year in Public Chapters 125 and 493. These laws go into effect on July 1, 2021. By aligning the State Board’s educator licensure rule with the recently passed laws, educators can have their licensure applications processed more quickly. These changes will help local education agencies (LEAs) with hiring decisions over the summer. WHO: Tennessee State Board of Education WHAT: Meeting to approve expanded licensure pathways for out of state teachers WHERE: https://bit.ly/3xbt2Bm WHEN: July 1, 2021 at 2:00 PM CT

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  • State Board of Education Shares Updated Information on Educator Preparation in Latest Report Card

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 | 12:01pm

    On Thursday, the State Board of Education Released its fifth annual Educator Preparation Report Card, which evaluates educator preparation programs (EPPs) in Tennessee on teacher candidate preparedness; the 2020 Report Card includes modified metrics to account for COVID-19 related data challenges while still prioritizing rigorous educator preparation. Established in state law, the Educator Preparation Report Card is an annual report designed to track metrics across Tennessee’s public, private, and alternative EPPs. By assessing EPPs’ performance in teacher effectiveness, employment outcomes, and recruitment of diverse candidates, the State Board’s Report Card aims to ensure every Tennessee student is taught by a well-prepared educator. Certain metrics in the Report Card, such as performance on licensure examinations and measures of teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom, are mandated in state law. Other metrics, such as candidate diversity and the percentage of candidates pursuing endorsements in high-demand fields, are included on the Report Card as key priorities highlighted by the State Board. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, limited the availability of data regarding teacher effectiveness during the 2019-20 school year.

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  • State Board of Education Releases Report on Gaffney Athletic Preparatory Academy Charter School

    Thursday, August 13, 2020 | 12:25pm

    On Thursday, the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, Dr. Sara Morrison, released the reports of her findings on the charter application appeal for Gaffney Athletic Preparatory Academy (GAPA); her recommendation to the State Board is to affirm Monroe County Schools’ decision to deny the charter school’s amended application. Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 49-13-108 allows a sponsor whose amended application has been denied by a local board of education to appeal that decision to the State Board of Education. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-13-108 and State Board Policy 2.500, State Board staff and an independent charter application review committee conducted a de novo, on the record review of the amended application under appeal as well as a virtual public hearing with representatives of GAPA and Monroe County Schools. Upon receipt of the appeal from GAPA in June 2020, State Board staff began their review process, which included an examination of the documentation included in the notice of appeal and Monroe County School’s decision to deny the amendment petition.

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  • Social Studies Shows Students Strength in Crisis, Prepares Graduates For a Lifetime of Civic Engagement

    Monday, June 01, 2020 | 09:58am

    History is more than just facts and dates found in the dusty pages of old textbooks. It teaches us how events and decisions have shaped the world in which we live. Now, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to alter the way we live, learn, work, and play, Tennessee students are experiencing first-hand the events that will be recorded in future history textbooks. When teaching middle school social studies, I used history to help students learn the importance of their voice and how to productively get involved in the issues they care about. Social studies shows how civics, geography, economics, and government work together to shape the society in which we live.

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  • Public Invited to Share Feedback on Revised K-12 Math Academic Standards

    Monday, May 04, 2020 | 01:24pm

    The Tennessee State Board of Education is inviting the public to provide feedback and comments on the proposals to revise the state’s K-12 mathematics academic standards through May 22, 2020, at 12 PM CT. All Tennesseeans are invited to review the revised math standards through the public review survey. Public comments and feedback will be considered by the Standards Recommendation Committee before the math standards are finalized and submitted to the State Board of Education for approval. These revisions to the math standards were developed by three advisory teams composed of Tennessee K-12 and university educators split between three grade bands: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Following this review, several educators from each grade band team reviewed the standards for coherence and consistency through all grade levels. On the survey, participants will be able to see the original academic standards and the proposed revisions as they provide feedback.

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