Reform group SCORE releases study on TN education - WSMV News 4

Reform group SCORE releases study on TN education

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A new report released Tuesday on the state of education in Tennessee shows there is some real work yet to do for improvement.

While Tennessee students improved scores on the TCAP and Advanced Placement tests from year-to-year, the state still lags behind the national average on ACT scores.

That could likely be because Tennessee requires all students to take the ACT, but the study shows the state also trails in best preparing its students for college.

"It's a pretty monumental task," said Jamie Woodson, president and CEO of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).

The annual SCORE report released Tuesday highlights the positives, progress and potential. For example, there was strong growth in math achievement but also a troubling lack of progress in reading.

"It's good, not great, but we're on the way," said SCORE Chairman former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.

The SCORE report made key recommendations for this year, including sustaining policy reforms, fostering teachers, supporting school leaders, using more technology in classrooms and empowering parents.

Implementing any changes, though, requires collaboration between the state and local districts, and that can be a challenge.

"From our perspective, what we're trying to do is maintain local control so that what's working doesn't get interfered with," said Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney.

"We all have to come together and be very persistent and stay with a plan and implement it over time," said Metro Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register.

In fact, collaboration seems to be the buzzword among students, teachers, administrators and parents.

"We all know that we want Tennessee to be that great place to live, work and play. And at the end of the day, this is how we get there - staying the course, working hard and refining and learning from listening to each other and staying squarely focused on students and student achievement," Woodson said.

Interesting to note: SCORE surveyed Tennessee voters to find out their opinions on the state of public education. A majority showed support for some controversial issues, including teacher evaluations and tenure reform. SCORE suggested those should continue to better ensure a quality teacher in classrooms across the state.

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