A report on Tennessee schools is in, and it looks like they are making some modest improvements.
The group SCORE, founded by former Sen. Bill Frist, released its annual report Tuesday morning and said the state saw steady improvement in some key subjects.
Statewide, student math scores increased by 7 percentage points, and reading scores increased by 3.7 percent.
While that is positive news, researchers at Harvard University say Tennessee's student performance in math still puts them at a disadvantage compared to students in other states and other countries.
Metro Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register says he is seeing the signs of change coming.
"One statistic that wasn't in the report, and I like to point out, our drop-out rate was cut in half this year," Register said. "Our drop-out rate is down to 2.2 percent, which is really good. For about four years in a row, that has dropped from almost 8 percent to 2.2 percent."
SCORE identified four priorities for 2012. They include sustained policy leadership, robust professional learning for educators, strengthening teacher preparation programs and expanding the principal and administrative pipeline.
"There's a sense of urgency that's out there," Frist said. "There was urgency last year passing the standards. There's urgency now making it a reality in the classroom with the students, so they come out smarter and better prepared for tomorrow."
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged Tennessee to become the state with the fastest-improving education in the country.
SCORE says that means there is work to be done, and that is what the group is focusing its attention on in the next year.
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