Before the year came to an end, we took a look back into our archives to find the top education stories from 2018. Here are the stories that riled, informed, or befuddled you.
The most read story in 2018 was about a study that suggested that the best way to improve teachers is by coaching principals. Not far behind was a story about a Memphis teacher who created a website to make physics fun and more accessible for his students. The website is now used by students and educators around the country.
News from the state, like the annual release of lists of priority and reward schools, also ranked high among readers, as did stories profiling candidates and changes in education leadership around the state
Sharon Griffin, who has received national recognition for her work in school turnaround, left Shelby County Schools in a surprise move to lead the state-run Achievement School District in May.
Tennessee also got a new governor, Bill Lee, a Republican businessman from Williamson County. Everyone intimately connected to education issues watched the governor’s race closely because the state leader is largely responsible for the fate of the reforms enacted over the last eight years.
Before Lee could name an education commissioner, Candice McQueen took herself out of the running by accepting a job with a national nonprofit. Dorsey Hopson, the superintendent of Shelby County Schools, also removed himself from consideration in November when he announced he would take a position with health insurance giant Cigna.
But the stories that resonated the most with you this year had one common theme: TNReady testing.
We broke the news of widespread problems on the first day of testing this past spring. Students couldn’t log into the system to take the standardized tests. State officials blamed the issues on a conflict between two state testing programs.
The problems continued the next day along with the suggestion that the system could have been hacked.
By the end of the week, state lawmakers had had enough. In an unprecedented move, members of the General Assembly passed a flurry of legislation that largely barred this year’s scores from being used to assess the performance of students, teachers, schools, and districts.
Later, there were calls for the education commissioner’s resignation. But the tenor of those demands changed when we ran a story that questioned the legislature’s culpability in the testing fiasco as well.
Come back to Chalkbeat in 2019 as we continue to cover the stories that matter to educators, families, and policy leaders across the state.