Monthly Archives: August 2017

TN high school English test scores up; math no so much

Based on test scores released Wednesday, Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that it appears school districts across Tennessee are slowly adapting to the state’s new, more difficult tests for high schoolers.

Three out of every four districts saw English proficiency rise this year, while less than half saw the same trend in math in the second year of TNReady, the state’s new standardized test.

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TN meets EPA particle pollution standards statewide

News release from Department of Environment and Conservation

NASHVILLE – The entire state of Tennessee is now in compliance with federal air quality health standards for particle pollution, also known as particulate matter or PM2.5.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday in the Federal Register finalized its official redesignation of all of Anderson, Knox, Blount and Loudon counties and the remaining part of Roane County as “attainment,” which means the areas now meet federal particle pollution standards. These areas were the last remaining areas in Tennessee to achieve the designation.

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TN search and rescue teams head to TX

News release from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

Nashville, Tenn. – Swiftwater search and rescue teams representing the State of Tennessee will make their way toward southeast Texas this afternoon to conduct life-saving operations to help local authorities dealing with the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm.

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Corker says Trump tweet hasn’t hurt his support in TN

Sen. Bob Corker, who has yet to confirm that he will run for a third term next year, told reporters after a speech in Hendersonville Tuesday that he hasn’t felt a lot of blowback from a recent President Trump tweet declaring “Tennessee not happy!” the senator’s criticism of the president, reports the Associated Press.

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Online voter registration comes to Tennessee

The Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office has initiated what WPLN calls a “soft launch”of a system that allows Tennesseans to register as voters online, as authorized under a law enacted by the Legislature in 2016 that took effect July 1 of this year.

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School boards in Nashville and Memphis defy state order

Elected school leaders in Memphis and Nashville are digging in their heels against a state order to release public information about their students to state-run charter schools, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Shelby County’s school board agreed Tuesday night to defy the order, a day after the chairwoman of Nashville’s school board sent a letter to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen indicating that her district would do the same.

Meanwhile, McQueen said she would request the state attorney general’s opinion on the matter.

At issue is student directory information, including names, phone numbers, addresses and emails. Charter operators say they have a right to the lists under the state’s new charter school law, but local districts don’t want to share the information so they can retain their students.

…Both boards cite a committee discussion in February when state lawmakers were asking questions about the charter school bill as it made its way through the legislature. Rep. John Forgety of Athens said the information could not be used as a “recruiting tool,” and Chuck Cagle, an attorney for the state’s superintendents group, agreed. No one disputed their statements.

However, the final bill that passed excluded language that prohibits using the information to market to students, even as the law prohibits charter schools from sharing the information with anyone else.

Confederate flag joins Forrest on Haslam unapproved list

Gov. Bill Haslam has formally asked the Tennessee Historical Commission to approve a Memphis City County request to remove a statute of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park. This follows his request last week to the State Capitol Commission that a bust of Forrest be removed from the state capitol building.

Further, The Tennessean reports, he is informally questioning whether the state should stop issuing specialty vehicle license plates for the Sons of Confederate Veterans that have an image of the Confederate battle flag.

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TVA ratepayers may pay contractor’s legal bills in coal ash lawsuit

After unsuccessfully using the Tennessee Valley Authority as a legal shield, a global government contractor accused of fatally endangering workers at the site of the nation’s largest coal ash disaster wants TVA ratepayers to pay its legal bills, according to court records reviewed for a News Sentinel report.

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Prodded by Haslam, panel schedules meeting on Forrest bust

The State Capitol Commission, one of two state government entities that must approve the removal Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust from inside the Tennessee capitol building,  has scheduled a special meeting for Friday.

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Conflict seen in TN laws to prevent child sexual abuse and to restrict sex education

Organizations pushing Tennessee schools to expand their child sexual abuse prevention efforts say they face resistance from educators worried about violating a state law putting restrictions on sex education classes, reports The Tennessean.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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