Tennessee Watchdog.org

Nashville’s first charter founder still a reformer

By   /  June 27, 2016  /  Education Blog, Tennessee  /  No Comments

school choice

Ninety-year-old Sister Sandra Smithson, the founder of Tennessee’s first charter school, says “we have to rethink everything we are doing in public schools right now.” Her suggested reforms are doing away with grade levels and teaching children to understand the language of academics, with the goal being to “transform children from a culture of poverty to a […]

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Memphis public schools are becoming more competitive

By   /  June 22, 2016  /  Education, Education Blog, Tennessee  /  No Comments


Schools in the midtown area of Memphis weren’t always attractive to parents, but that’s changing. According to realtor Debbie Sowell, “That shift has kind of happened where people are like, ‘No, I don’t have to [move], I do have some options here in Midtown that I can choose from.’” Shelby County’s Director of Optional Schools […]

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Alexander to DOE: Get off my law

By   /  June 22, 2016  /  Education, Federal Government, National, News, Tennessee  /  No Comments

AP photo

As governor, senator, secretary of Education and long-shot presidential candidate, Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander has always exuded a sense of optimism. Which is good, because he is going to need it as he wrestles with the Department of Education over regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act, the latest rewrite of the federal law governing […]

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Nashville high school a turnaround model

By   /  June 17, 2016  /  Education Blog, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Tennessee seal

Cameron High School in Nashville, decades ago a segregated school for black students, is now a model of district/charter partnership run by LEAD Public Schools. Just five years ago, Cameron was one of the lowest-performing middle schools in the state, and became the first of Nashville’s district/charter turnaround schools. Turn around, it did. Cameron serves grades 5-12 […]

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Tennessee testing is in a ‘transition phase’

By   /  June 16, 2016  /  Education Blog, Tennessee  /  No Comments

Photo by Shutterstock

Five times during the last testing task force meeting in Tennessee, state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said, “we’re in a transition phase.” That statement referred to both ESSA and the new statewide testing program, TNReady, which has already been canceled for most students amid a backlash. Read more here.

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Nashville denies all charter applications

By   /  June 16, 2016  /  Education Blog, Tennessee  /  No Comments

NOT LIKE THE OTHER: While Kansas teachers union officials point to a recent North Carolina judical ruling while railing against local changes to due process laws, they neglect to mention the differences between the two laws.

Nashville schools heard four applications for charter schools on Tuesday, all of which were denied. Board members they want to give new director of schools Shawn Joseph a chance to boost performance before turning more toward charters. One school in particular, Napier Elementary School, had a charter takeover denied to give Joseph that chance. “We at […]

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