Education | Nashville Public Radio


Photo via Gov. Haslam’s flckr stream

The leader of the state Senate says he wants to replace Common Core education standards, and he thinks state lawmakers are the right people to do it.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey told reporters Wednesday that the Senate Education Committee already has begun work on replacement standards that should be ready by the end of the legislative session.

HELP Committee via YouTube

In his first days as chairman of the U.S. Senate’s education committee, Lamar Alexander is following through on a pledge to fix the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. He’s set a goal of having a bill to vote on within a few weeks.

The Tennessee Republican says there’s general agreement on some changes, like setting realistic goals. But he says there will be real debate on topics like standardized testing.

Nashville Prep via Instagram

A bug in Metro Schools’ lottery system resulted in a few hundred families getting seats in several different schools instead of just one. But district officials say there was no harm and no need for a re-do.

At a press conference Monday, school officials apologized while also downplaying the glitch that forced the district to take down a website that announced placements for the fall.“It was a programming error in the program itself,” chief operating officer Fred Carr said. “And humans programmed the program, so that’s why we’re doing double quality assurance this time.”

Nina Cardona / WPLN

More than 13,000 families in Nashville are still waiting to hear if they got into the school they wanted for next year. A website announcing results of the school lottery was published Friday and then taken down over the weekend after glitches emerged.

A statement from the district says some students were given seats at multiple schools when they should have been offered just one. It appears this didn’t happen to most applicants, but everyone could be affected. The school system isn’t ruling out running the lottery all over again in order to ensure integrity in the process.

As President Obama announced his free community college plan in Knoxville on Friday afternoon, he was joined by top Republican lawmakers. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Obama’s proposal is getting bipartisan support.

Obama applauded Gov. Bill Haslam for implementing a statewide program, called Tennessee Promise, to pay community college tuition for all graduating high school seniors. The president also highlighted a similar initiative in Chicago.

MNPS via Instagram

Decision day comes Friday for 13,300 students in Nashville. That’s how many have applied to attend a school other than the one that’s closer to home – a record figure, by far.

The number is slightly padded from previous years because all eighth graders now have to choose which high school they’ll attend. But still, applications have been growing for the last few years as the district promotes choice and as more and more charter schools open in the city.

Bobby Allyn / WPLN

Updated Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

In President Obama’s third visit to Tennessee in the past year, he will be announcing a proposal that would make community college free for all Americans, called America’s College Promise. Details are still emerging, but it could look similar to Tennessee Promise.

Obama released a Facebook video Thursday evening saying he will commend Tennessee on its education reform and then propose a way to make college accessible for everyone:

Bill McChesney via Flickr

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has some unanswered questions about a proposed law requiring seat belts on school buses. After two buses collided in Knoxville last month, killing two students and a teacher’s aide, legislators immediately began calling for lap restraints.

There’s a whole debate over whether children are safer strapped to their seats in a bus. Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons says he’s not convinced seat belts would have saved lives or prevented injuries in the Knoxville tragedy.

TN Photo Services

Tennessee teachers are starting 2015 curious to know if it will be a second year without a pay raise. So far, state officials haven’t made any more promises.

WPLN pressed outgoing education commissioner Kevin Huffman when he didn’t even mention teacher salaries in his annual budget presentation.

“All the salary stuff – state employee salary and teacher salary – will be done through the governor’s budget release,” Huffman said.

Katy Campen / 100 Girls of Code

Technology companies in Middle Tennessee will be working more with high schools and community colleges this year, thanks to an $850,000 grant from the state. The goal is to get more students thinking about careers in information technology — that’s anything from coding computer programs to managing data centers or working at a telecomm company.

According to the Nashville Technology Council, which received the funding, only about 600 students currently take IT classes at local community colleges. That’s nowhere near the demand for jobs in the field, it said in its budget proposal.