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  • Nashville Area Chamber Statement on SB1266

    by Marc Hill | Mar 13, 2014
    Today, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to adopt two amendments which delay further implementation of Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards and the corresponding PARCC assessment for two years. The amendments were added to an unrelated bill regarding the teaching of American history that had already passed the Tennessee Senate. SB1266, amended by the House, now goes back to the Senate for a decision on whether to agree to the House amendments. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce urges its members to contact members of the Senate and ask them to “nonconcur,” or vote against, the House changes to the bill.

     

    Statement from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce:

    “Our businesses are doing their part to create jobs in Tennessee, but today many of our legislators took actions that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for our graduates to be prepared for those new jobs. Today’s vote on Common Core State Standards puts our recent progress in education at risk. We are asking members of the Senate to protect Tennessee’s recent academic gains and reject this reckless attempt to hijack unrelated legislation."

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    Category: Education
  • Nashville Chamber Endorses In-state Tuition Legislation for Immigrant Families

    by Marc Hill | Feb 28, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has endorsed state legislation that will make it more affordable for children of undocumented parents to attend Tennessee colleges. The annual cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be as much as $8,000 for a public university in our region. The proposed legislation aligns with the Chamber’s policy principles of increasing the number of postsecondary degrees in the region and immigration-related reforms that address workforce needs. The Chamber board voted to add the issue to its 2014 state legislative agenda at its Feb. 27 meeting.

    We’ll be communicating to our regional legislative delegation that we are supporting the following bills:
    • HB1929 by White/SB2115 by Gardenhire, which allows in-state college tuition rate to apply to Tennessee high school graduates whose parents are undocumented if they are U.S. citizens and have lived in Tennessee for at least one year.
    • HB1992 by Floyd/SB1951 by Gardenhire, which allows in-state college tuition rate to apply to undocumented Tennessee high school graduates if they attended a Tennessee school five years prior to graduating and if they attain at least a final GPA of 3.0, 21 on the ACT, or a 980 on the SAT.
    The Chamber ...
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    Category: Policy
  • Chamber's Report Card Committee Sees Mixed Results in a Time of Great Change

    by Marc Hill | Dec 17, 2013
    On Dec. 16, the Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee presented our 2013 Education Report Card for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to a standing-room-only crowd at the Adventure Science Center. Along with school system performance, the committee chose to focus on Common Core State Standards, the state’s new academic standards that align with college- and career-readiness benchmarks.

    After an in-depth examination of the 2012-2013 school year in Metro Schools, the committee found that the academic results are mixed. Tennessee was named the fastest-improving state in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and MNPS students contributed to these state results. MNPS has also seen strong improvement in TCAP math scores over the past four years.

    Still, growth in reading remained essentially flat, as it has across the state. In addition, MNPS did not make progress increasing the percentage of students making at least a 21 or higher on the ACT exam. Finally, the graduation rate – which only counts students who graduate within four years and a summer – seems to have hit a plateau over the past three years, falling slightly from 78.4 percent in 2012 to 76.6 percent in 2013.

    Despite these mixed results, the ...
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    Category: Education
  • Assessment Says Tennessee Students Are the Fastest-Improving in the Nation

    by Marc Hill | Nov 07, 2013
    In August 2011 during a visit to Nashville, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged Tennessee to be the fastest-improving state in the country. Two years later, the state has shown that we can rise to that challenge.

    Today, Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee is the fastest-improving state in the U.S. on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

    NAEP, often called "the nation's report card," assesses students in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math. All 50 states have taken NAEP since 2003, and the results are regarded as the best way to compare educational outcomes across states.

    The state also made strides in improving its national ranking, although we still have a long way to go. In fourth-grade math, Tennessee students went from 46th to 37th in the nation, and in fourth-grade reading, Tennessee students went from 41st to 31st in the nation.

    For these gains, we thank the teachers, students, and education leaders across Tennessee who have worked hard every day to make education improvement a priority. We also thank the hundreds of business leaders who have rolled up their sleeves and contributed their time, money and advocacy toward improving public education in Metro Schools and ...
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    Category: Education
  • Strong Public Schools Spur Economic Growth, Job Creation

    by Marc Hill | Oct 29, 2013
    Guest post by Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst

    On a global scale, our country is falling behind in education. According to the most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science study (2011), only 7 percent of students in the United States reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, in contrast to over 45 percent in other countries. As jobs of the future global economy continue to emphasize math and science competences, this lag among American students should sound alarms.

    Despite these grim statistics, Tennessee has set itself apart from the rest of the country by coming together in a bipartisan manner to pursue meaningful reforms.

    I firmly believe that strong public school systems are the pulse of every prosperous state economy. They attract businesses and allow local markets to remain competitive on a national and international scale. Moreover, high-quality schools are also responsible for preparing our students for college and entry into the workforce.

    Simply put, education is a pathway to spurring economic growth and creating jobs.

    This is why our legislators, business leaders and parents have worked so hard to improve public education in the state. While Tennesseans have every right to feel proud of the academic progress that has been ...
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    Category: Education
  • Education Committee Examines MNPS Human Capital Strategy

    by Etta Bell | Sep 25, 2013
    Guest post by Etta Bell, Chamber education program manager

    This month's meeting of the Chamber Education Committee began with a presentation on Metro Schools' new human capital strategy, which creates a roadmap for educator effectiveness. We heard from MNPS Chief Human Capital Officer Susan Thompson and Katie Cour, executive director of talent strategy, about how MNPS is revamping teacher preparation, recruitment, hiring and support, development and evaluation, retention and reward.

    The transition to human capital encompasses talent strategy as well as leadership and professional development. By having these components in place, MNPS will be able to identify school needs, position the district for competitive teaching talent and expand leadership opportunities for teachers. The ultimate goal is to attract, retain and develop highly effective educators in Metro Schools.

    The committee also provided input into the Chamber’s annual policy survey, which was recently emailed to our more than 5,000 advocacy members throughout the region. The results of the survey will help guide our 2014 legislative agenda, which will be shared with businesses and government officials in January 2014.

    Our education committee will meet again in early November to hear a presentation on MNPS's new strategic plan from Director of Metro Schools ...
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    Category: Education
  • Education Committee Focuses on Common Core State Standards

    by Etta Bell | Sep 06, 2013
    Guest post by Etta Bell, Chamber education program manager

    Last month, the Chamber's Education Committee convened for their first meeting of 2013-2014. Our major discussion topic was Common Core State Standards, a new set of standards for math and English language arts developed to ensure every student graduates from high school prepared for college or the workforce. Because Common Core State Standards focus on critical thinking and problem-solving skills, students will be better prepared for today’s workplace needs, which we believe is essential for students to be successful beyond high school. To learn more about Common Core State Standards, visit tncore.org.

    The committee also heard an overview of the 2013 Legislative Scorecard from Chamber Policy Director Adam Lister. The scorecard is now in its second year of publishing legislative issues that affect our business community, and tracking how our elected officials voted. In particular, Adam highlighted some of the 2013 legislative outcomes related to education, including the passage of a Chamber-initiated bill that directs the state’s department of education to include the breakdown of ACT and SAT achievement data for each district and high school in its annual online report card. Adam also talked about issues that may be debated ...
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    Category: Education
  • New Study on Dual Enrollment Recommends Changes to Advance College Completion

    by Marc Hill | Aug 26, 2013
    A study published this year by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University has made a series of recommendations aimed at improving Tennessee’s current dual-enrollment (DE) program. Students taking DE offerings receive both high school credit and transcripted college credit for the same course and, as a result, are more likely to enroll in college and complete a degree.

    CCRC has performed DE research in states across the country, and began their work by studying best practices in Tennessee’s peer states. CCRC’s DE recommendations are intended to increase the college-going rate of Tennessee’s high school graduates and advance Governor Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal of ensuring 55 percent of Tennessee adults have a postsecondary degree by the year 2025.

    The report makes four primary recommendations:
    • Make DE eligibility more consistent. Some colleges add unique eligibility requirements onto their dual enrollment courses, confusing students, parents and school counselors. The CCRC report recommends the creation of several tiers of DE eligibility, based on the course type, that would be consistent across the state.
    • Align DE course offerings with completion. Currently, students can use the DE scholarship for just about any postsecondary course offering. CCRC recommends that Tennessee follow the lead ...
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    Category: Education
  • New Polling in Tennessee Shows Public Support for Immigration Reform

    by Marc Hill | Jun 13, 2013
    Polling in 39 states, including Tennessee, shows broad public support for comprehensive immigration reform this year. Released by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the poll shows 67 percent of voters across these 39 states supported the immigration reform legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate (S. 744). The Tennessee results were announced by this afternoon at a press conference at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Tennessee Chamber CEO Catherine Glover was joined by Yuri Cunza, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Tennessee Associated Builders & Contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    According to the poll, 64 percent of Tennesseans strongly favor or somewhat favor the key features of S. 744: securing the country’s borders, blocking employers from hiring undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. and making sure those undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. without a criminal record register for legal status. Seventy-seven percent of Tennesseans support the earned pathway to citizenship contained in the legislation. Perhaps most strikingly, 71 percent believe it is “very important” for the U.S. to fix its immigration system this year, a figure that suggests there could be consequences ...
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    Category: Policy
  • TSU President Discusses Her 'Critical Hire' with Chamber Committee

    by Marc Hill | May 21, 2013
    The Nashville Area of Commerce’s Education Committee met recently with the new president of Tennessee State University, Dr. Glenda Glover, now in her fifth month leading Nashville’s public four-year university. In particular, the committee wanted to hear President Glover’s vision for TSU’s College of Education. In 2012, Metro Schools hired 52 teachers graduating from TSU’s teacher preparation program, nearly 10 percent of the district’s new hires and the most new teachers from any single college or university. TSU is currently searching for a new dean for their College of Education, and while the school announced several hirings on May 10, including a new leader for the College of Business, the search for an education dean has not yet been completed.

    President Glover called the ongoing search “a critical hire—one I have to get right.” The search process began in March, with a committee narrowing 40 applicants down to five. Three finalists will then visit the campus for a round of interviews, but Glover told the committee she had no problem scrapping the search and starting over if the candidates didn’t meet her expectations. In particular, she wants a dean who is innovative, not afraid to make changes, and can lead ...
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    Category: Education