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September 7, 2018
As Griffin battles low enrollment in Tennessee’s state district, she looks to a school with a waitlist
The Achievement School District is looking to Westwood Elementary to help her find answers to one of the state district’s longtime issues: lack of students.
To our readers
October 30, 2017
Hey, we heard you. You had a lot of questions about TNReady. We found answers.
Chalkbeat takes some of our readers' top concerns about Tennessee's new test directly to the state Department of Education.
October 17, 2017
Teacher pay raises on schedule in Memphis despite possible changes to evaluation scores
Memphis teachers will start receiving their performance-based salary increases in November, even though evaluation scores could change for at least 587 educators.
October 16, 2017
Memphis teachers union calls on Tennessee to invalidate TNReady over scoring errors
From the State Capitol, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell called for a hearing on recently revealed scoring errors by the state department's testing vendor.
October 13, 2017
Missing student data means 900 Tennessee teachers could see their growth scores change
The latest glitch follows a series of mishaps, including test scanning errors, which also affect teacher evaluations.
Movers & shakers
September 27, 2017
The state-run Achievement Schools has a new academic leader. Here’s her vision for amplifying the district’s top teachers
Verna Ruffin’s role with the five-year-old Achievement School District a new one. She's tasked with raising the academic bar across all 32 ASD schools.
good news bad news
September 19, 2017
Most Tennessee districts are showing academic growth, but districts with the farthest to go improved the least
It’s not just Memphis: Across Tennessee, districts with many struggling schools posted lower-than-expected growth scores on this year’s state exams, the data shows.
September 18, 2017
Most Memphis schools score low on student growth under new state test
Find out how your school fared in growth on the state's new test in this Chalkbeat exclusive.
April 12, 2017
Teacher merit pay has merit when it comes to student scores, analysis shows
After years of conflicting studies about whether teacher incentive pay improves student performance, a Vanderbilt University analysis offers a conclusion — and suggestions.
Father of TVAAS
March 20, 2017
William Sanders, pioneer of controversial value-added model for judging teachers, dies
The Tennessee statistician and researcher came up with the nation’s first system for evaluating teachers based on student growth, kicking off a contentious debate.
March 9, 2017
Here’s what you need to know about Tennessee’s latest voucher proposal
Here are answers to questions from some of our readers about a new proposal to pilot tuition vouchers in Memphis.
December 12, 2016
Your guide to district- and school-level TNReady scores
Tennessee soon will release district- and school-level scores from the state’s new, and supposedly harder, standardized test.
September 20, 2016
Analysis: Memphis students from closed schools don’t always go to better ones
Up to 2,600 Memphis students leaving 10 closed schools since 2012 were assigned to schools with similar, if not worse, test scores, according to a Chalkbeat analysis.
July 22, 2016
Tennessee first-grade teachers now can be evaluated beyond test scores
The State Board of Education votes to update its evaluation policy, adding a new option for first-grade teachers.
March 1, 2016
Here’s how test scores could count in teacher evaluations for first year of TNReady
If the legislature approves the governor's proposal, student test scores still will make up to 50 percent of evaluation scores in one way or another.
February 19, 2016
Federal judge dismisses TEA lawsuit challenging TVAAS in teacher bonuses
The formula that Tennessee uses to rate teachers might be unfair — but it still can be used to decide whether they should get bonuses, a federal court has ruled.
February 17, 2016
Few answers as state education officials testify about testing breakdown
Just how did years of preparation for online testing in Tennessee collapse in a matter of hours last week?
February 17, 2016
After testing debacle, Tennessee set to exclude student scores from teacher ratings
Gov. Bill Haslam announces the change during a legislative hearing about online testing snafus.
A Look at the Legacy
December 15, 2015
As Tennessee finishes its Race to the Top, teachers caught in the middle of competing changes
Teachers grapple with the competing threads in Race to the Top's legacy: higher-stakes tests and a push for richer instruction.
September 25, 2015
Commissioner visits Shelby County school that vaulted from priority to reward status
Candice McQueen visits Springdale Memphis Magnet School to acknowledge its academic growth last school year.
June 9, 2015
TVAAS creator William Sanders to receive national education award
William Sanders, the statistician who developed Tennessee’s system for evaluating teachers and schools, is the 2015 recipient of the James Bryant Conant Award.
May 19, 2015
New study has implications for teacher prep programs in Tennessee
Tennessee's teacher prep programs have gotten high marks from the National Center for Teacher Quality, but a study says they may not lead to higher student test scores.
April 1, 2015
Only two bills still alive out of 22 to limit the state’s school turnaround district
Besieged initially by 22 bills aimed at curbing the power of the state's turnaround school district, the Achievement School District now is the subject of only two bills still on the table.
March 16, 2015
For principals, value-added takes back seat in decisions about teachers, study says
Even as policymakers are putting more emphasis on test score growth, a new study suggests it's becoming less important to principals.
February 24, 2015
Lawmakers advance bill to temporarily tweak teacher evaluation process
A bill that temporarily would alter the weight of student test scores in the teacher evaluation process passed with no opposition Tuesday in a House subcommittee.
February 5, 2015
Union files lawsuit contesting fairness of using test scores to judge elective teachers
Tennessee's largest teachers union sues state and district education officials in Nashville and Anderson County, challenging teacher evaluations based on test scores of students in courses they did not teach.
January 29, 2015
State Education Department tweaks assessment tool tied to teacher evaluations
The Tennessee Department of Education unveiled plans Thursday to fine-tune a crucial component of teacher evaluation scores in response to educators' concerns.
December 15, 2014
Charters cry foul on impending SCS closures
At least three of four charter schools Shelby County Schools will shutter for low performance next spring say they will fight to keep their schools open, even though they don't have a right to a formal appeal under state law.
December 8, 2014
Data disagreements muddy takeover debate
In the wake of the ASD's announcement that it will take over one of two middle schools in a Nashville community, district officials and their opponents have continually cited data points that seem contradictory. In fact, representatives from both sides of the school takeover debate were using different yardsticks to measure the same things:
November 3, 2014
Teach for America vs. traditional training programs: This year’s state report card
Both alternative certification teacher programs like Teach for America and traditional programs are producing high-quality teachers, according to an annual evaluation of Tennessee teacher training programs.
October 15, 2014
School takeover meetings with teachers begin this week; union wants access
Memphis-Shelby County Education Association requests to participate in faculty meetings at schools slated for takeover by the state's Achievement School District. Advocates concerned takeover process could have negative impact on teacher morale.
September 19, 2014
Hopson says he is committed to compromise with teachers on evaluation dispute
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson II is willing to work with teachers about their concerns in the revised classroom observation model. Teachers want an appeals process and changes to the requirements to receive the highest score.
Shelby County Schools
September 11, 2014
After shuffling, SCS administrators reduce teacher layoffs by 178
Shelby County Schools is now cutting 42 teaching positions, not the initial 220 that it estimated earlier this week, administrators said in a board meeting…
August 29, 2014
After impasse over teacher evaluation, committee disbanded, teacher says
The final draft of the evaluation, one Box said she nor other members on the committee did not approve, has caused angry protests from teachers throughout the district and Superintendent Dorsey Hopson scrambling to smooth relations with his largest body of employees.
August 27, 2014
Despite rumored threat of ‘sick out’, Shelby County teachers still report to work
On Wednesday, the district's communications department released a statement to the media that there had not been an increase in teacher absences.
August 22, 2014
Despite federal reprieve, Tenn. will continue using test scores to evaluate teachers
The U.S. Department of Education will consider states’ requests to forgo the use of test results in teacher evaluations for at least a year, secretary of…
August 15, 2014
Displaced by job cuts and school closings, Shelby County teachers share stories of frustration
Memphis-Shelby County Education Association has filed two lawsuits on behalf of displaced and excessed teachers who were not placed in positions by the district.
August 14, 2014
M-SCEA files two lawsuits focused on rights of tenured Shelby County teachers
Shelby County Schools tenured teachers displaced by school closures and staff reductions use litigation to fight for job placement in the district.
August 1, 2014
Be warm, firm and clear: Teachers get 101 on classroom discipline
As a classroom teacher for 15 years, Michael Loden has asked his students to live by one simple rule – “don’t be an idiot.” “It’s…
August 1, 2014
School board candidates in focus: Teacher Effectiveness
Provide better support and compensation for teachers are among a few of the ways several Shelby County school board candidates believe the district should do to…
Shelby County Schools
June 17, 2014
Shelby County Schools’ teachers to receive one-time bonus, differentiated pay plan still in the works
All Shelby County School teachers in the 2014-15 academic year will receive a one-time bonus based on their evaluation scores, but their future earnings through the district's differentiated pay plan is still in development.
May 21, 2014
Shelby County Schools will not wait on TCAP scores to release students’ final grades
Shelby County Schools’ third through eighth grade students’ final grades this year will not factor in their performance on the state tests they took in…
May 15, 2014
Tennessee rolls out new principal evaluation
It takes a lot of effort and organization to compile a binder as thick as the one principal Tiffany Green keeps on her office shelf.
May 14, 2014
Shelby County School Board outsources bus services in special-called meeting
Shelby County school board members outsourced its bus services and approved new transportation software at a special-called meeting Tuesday. It also gave a four-year transportation contract…
Shelby County Schools
April 23, 2014
Shelby County Schools board cuts $240 million in spending
The Shelby County Schools board unanimously passed a budget Tuesday night that slashed more than $240 million in spending and 4,563 positions from the district.
April 11, 2014
Tennessee Board of Education rescinds TVAAS portion of teacher license policy
Now that the Tennessee State Board of Education has decided to no longer use value-added scores to determine whether teachers’ licenses will be renewed, it…
March 27, 2014
Shelby County Schools Supt. Hopson sets ambitious academic goals, asks for board members’ support
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson II and its board members discussed budget cuts, academic goals, its world language program and school start times during…
March 21, 2014
TEA files second value-added lawsuit this week
The state’s largest association for teachers filed a second lawsuit on behalf of a Knox County teacher, calling the use of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment…
March 13, 2014
One county, seven districts: Vying for teachers as Shelby County Schools demerges
The battle to retain and recruit the best teachers in Shelby County is firing up this spring as seven districts prepare for the municipality split.
March 10, 2014
TEA files lawsuit on behalf of Knox County teacher
The Tennessee Education Association has filed a lawsuit on the behalf of a Knox County teacher who believes she was unfairly denied a bonus as…
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