Education Recovery and Innovation Commission Reimagines High School in Second Annual Report

Friday, December 10, 2021 | 12:46pm

December 10, 2021

CONTACT: Elizabeth Tullos
(615) 741-0762

On Friday, the state’s Education Recovery and Innovation Commission (ERIC) published its second report on enhancing kindergarten to career preparation, including a recommendation to redesign Tennessee’s high schools by creating flexible pathways to college and career.

ERIC’s year two report, A Revitalization: Transforming Education in Tennessee, identifies nine priority areas aimed at pandemic recovery and modernization of the state’s kindergarten to career education systems. Between offering flexible postsecondary pathways in high school, adding Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) in Tennessee Transfer Pathways, addressing gaps in early literacy, expanding and diversifying the educator workforce, and incentivizing innovation at the local level, the year two report forms actionable recommendations for Tennessee to emerge as a leader in education and workforce development.

“This report is the culmination of a year’s worth of work that is intended to address known education gaps and set Tennessee up as an education leader for the next decade,” said Tara Scarlett, chairman of the Education Recovery and Innovation Commission. “It is our hope that with these recommendations, every Tennessean will have access to the education they need to excel in tomorrow’s workforce.”

In the Commission’s reimagined education landscape, every Tennessee high school student should have the opportunity to pursue a TCAT credential or community college degree while meeting their graduation requirements. This vision can be met through fully funded dual enrollment courses in each district, expanding mentoring systems to include career and postsecondary alignment, and greater work-based learning or apprenticeship opportunities statewide.

The Tennessee Education Recovery and Innovation Commission was formed in 2020 to examine the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. From 2020 to 2022, the Commission is charged with publishing annual reports containing recommendations for legislators, the State Board of Education, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and higher education institutions.

In December 2020, the Commission submitted its preliminary report to the Tennessee General Assembly outlining COVID-19’s effect on the state’s education system. This year one report leveraged pre-pandemic statistics, national education trends, and survey data from superintendents in Tennessee to identify priority areas for the legislature.

However, the year one report was limited by the lack of data during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Since then, more statewide data has become available and captures a clearer picture of Tennessee’s educational standing. As such, the year two report envisions the specific recommendations aligned to the year one priorities.

Over the coming months, the Commission will continue to engage with stakeholders and refine its recommendations ahead of its final report. Visit to learn more about the Education Recovery and Innovation Commission and its work.