Education | Nashville Public Radio


Emily Siner / WPLN

This weekend marks an important deadline for high school seniors applying for the Tennessee Promise scholarship: If they want to stay eligible for free community or technical college, they have to fill out a federal financial aid application by Feb. 15.

It can be a burden filling out the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Families have to detail their financial status, such as how much they make and what their assets are.

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Community college presidents have signed a letter signaling their support for Common Core. And just like a similar letter from school superintendents earlier this week, this letter never uses the words “Common Core,” which have become politically toxic.

Nearly 70 percent of the students who enter a two-year school in Tennessee have to get some remedial help. Board of Regents chancellor John Morgan says it doesn’t have to be that way.

A cyber school that operates statewide is looking for a savior in the Tennessee legislature, and they might find one. Several lawmakers are voicing support for the Tennessee Virtual Academy, despite an order to shut down because of poor performance on standardized tests.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nearly 90 percent of Tennessee’s school superintendents have signed a letter asking for legislators to stay the course on Common Core. They say a change in classroom standards would be a “huge blow to the morale of educators.”

Lipscomb University

In real life, Kiara Beard is a senior at Overton High School. Today in class, she has a new role: pharmacist.

David Wright Smith

The Robertson County school board has reluctantly accepted a federally imposed rezoning plan after months of heated debate. The panel voted unanimously Monday night at a special-called meeting.

Federal authorities accused the system of promoting segregation by adding portable classrooms to overcrowded, high-minority schools instead of rezoning some students to the virtually all-white schools that had room to spare.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Tennessee’s largest teachers union is taking another swing at statistics being used to make pay and tenure decisions. In a third federal lawsuit, the union is challenging use of so-called “value-added” scores to evaluate teachers in subjects like art and music, who don’t have test data related to their own students.

Child school Tennessee
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Tennessee’s agency that takes over low-performing schools wants permission to start recruiting students. It’s a significant change for the Achievement School District, which was originally tasked with making dramatic gains without bringing in new students.

“What’s happening now is that we’ve got kids who want to send their kids to one of our schools," says ASD superintendent Chris Barbic. "And we have to turn those families away.”

Emily Siner / WPLN

 Of the many high school students who applied for Tennessee Promise, three-quarters are taking the next required step to get free community college: meeting their mentors. These are volunteers who will help them through the college application process.

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A big jump in the number of Nashville schools that rank in Tennessee’s bottom five percent means more personnel decisions for the district. For the most part, Metro Schools plans to keep the current leadership in place.

Out of a dozen schools that now have “priority” status, seven will maintain the current principals, though three of those could lose their jobs if standardized test scores don’t improve this year. In a few cases, spokesman Joe Bass says the district is staying the course because the principals are so new.