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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
  • Leadership Lessons from Malcolm Gladwell

    by Stephanie Coleman | Feb 25, 2014
    On Feb. 21, nearly 900 Nashvillians had the opportunity to hear from Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and staff writer for The New Yorker. Speaking at Belmont University’s Leadership Breakfast presented by Belmont’s Executive Learning Network and Parnassus Books, and supported by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gladwell took the role of storyteller – primarily to explain his ideas around the theory of legitimacy – a theme in his most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.

    The underlying lesson of Gladwell’s narrative was to explain human behavior – a skill he’s become known for in his previous books, including Blink, which explains how some choices made by gut instinct are the most successful; The Tipping Point, which describes why certain ideas, trends or social behaviors reach a "tipping point" and end up spreading like wildfire; and Outliers, which examines what differentiates the highest achievers.

    In his speech, Gladwell wove together tales of underdogs turned radicals, including that of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a New York socialite and multi-millionaire who became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that won women the right to vote in 1920.

    Through his stories, Gladwell ...
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    Category: General
  • 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 ...
    Go comment!
    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
  • 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."

    Go comment!
  • 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 has also endorsed Gov. Haslam’s proposed Tennessee Promise program, which will enable all Tennessee high school graduates to get an associate degree at a community college at no cost. The program would begin with the graduating class of 2015 and would be funded through an endowment created by transferring excess lottery reserves. Because it functions as a last-dollar scholarship that leverages other sources of financial aid, students who do not have a U.S. social security number would be ineligible for the Tennessee Promise program.

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  • Leadership Lessons from Malcolm Gladwell

    by Stephanie Coleman | Feb 25, 2014
    On Feb. 21, nearly 900 Nashvillians had the opportunity to hear from Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and staff writer for The New Yorker. Speaking at Belmont University’s Leadership Breakfast presented by Belmont’s Executive Learning Network and Parnassus Books, and supported by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gladwell took the role of storyteller – primarily to explain his ideas around the theory of legitimacy – a theme in his most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.

    The underlying lesson of Gladwell’s narrative was to explain human behavior – a skill he’s become known for in his previous books, including Blink, which explains how some choices made by gut instinct are the most successful; The Tipping Point, which describes why certain ideas, trends or social behaviors reach a "tipping point" and end up spreading like wildfire; and Outliers, which examines what differentiates the highest achievers.

    In his speech, Gladwell wove together tales of underdogs turned radicals, including that of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a New York socialite and multi-millionaire who became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that won women the right to vote in 1920.

    Through his stories, Gladwell described the three prongs of the theory of legitimacy: people obey authority when they feel they are treated with trust, fairness and respect. On the other hand, when people do not feel they are treated legitimately – as in the case of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont – their anger may lead them to become unlikely radicals. Gladwell wrapped up by saying, “If you deny people legitimacy, they will one day, by one means or another, come back and defeat you.”

    While the theory of legitimacy can apply to some of the most contentious political fights in history, it also applies to an important principle of leadership: Those in positions of power have an obligation to behave in a way that legitimizes their followers.

    This is an important lesson for business leaders and entrepreneurs. As we work to grow our companies, the way we treat others can very well be the defining factor in our success.


    Photo courtesy of Belmont University. Photographer: Andrea Hallgren

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  • 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 committee believes the district is on the right course in many of its reform efforts, including teacher quality, lead principals, school autonomy, quality school choices, and the ambitious goals of the 2018 strategic plan. In particular, the committee applauds the district’s new Academic Performance Framework, which ranks individual school performance based on a range of measures from academic achievement to school climate. With clear identification of where schools fall along the performance spectrum, Metro Schools has an objective basis for dramatic intervention.

    The committee presented the following five recommendations:
    1. Metro Schools should take decisive action toward discontinuing their persistently lowest-performing, under-enrolled school programs under the new district Academic Performance Framework.
    2. Metro Schools should implement an aggressive strategy to recruit and retain high-performing bilingual teachers.
    3. Metro Government should allow enrolled K-12 students to ride Metropolitan Transit Authority buses at no cost to the student, making school choice a real possibility for Nashville’s students and families.
    4. The Tennessee General Assembly should stay the course in implementing Common Core State Standards and the corresponding PARCC assessments.
    5. Metro Schools should implement a strategy to communicate with parents, teachers, students and the broader public about the increased rigor and higher expectations that correspond with Common Core State Standards.
    The committee believes Metro Schools has the potential to reach the bold goals outlined in its new strategic plan by 2018. To do so, it must shift toward the kind of decisive actions likely to be taken by the highest-performing urban district in the country.

    Thank you to School Board Chair Cheryl Mayes, Mayor Karl Dean and Dr. Jesse Register for making remarks at our event. We’d also like to thank all of our elected officials who took the time to attend this year’s Report Card presentation - we appreciate your presence: School Board members Anna Shepherd, Jo Ann Brannon, Sharon Gentry, Michael Hayes, Will Pinkston, and Jill Speering; Metro Council members Ronnie Steine and Burkley Allen; and state representatives Jason Powell and Joe Pitts.

    To view the full report, click here.

    To view photos from the event, click here.



    Education Report Card Presentation - Dec. 16, 2013
    Education Report Card Committee Co-chair Susan West presents findings from the 2013 Education Report Card.


    Education Report Card Presentation - Dec. 16, 2013
    Education Report Card Committee Co-chair Patricia Stokes presents the 2013 Education Report Card recommendations.


    Education Report Card Presentation - Dec. 16, 2013
    Audience members, including Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register, School Board Chair Cheryl Mayes, School Board Vice-Chair Anna Shepherd, and Board Members Sharon Gentry, JoAnn Brannon, Jill Speering, Will Pinkston and Michael Hayes, listen to the presentation.

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  • 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 across the Nashville region.

    Highlights from the NAEP include:
    • Tennessee students' combined growth on all four tests in 2013 exceeded the growth of all other states, growing approximately 22 points in average scale score across all subject areas. This means today’s Tennessee students are about a half of a school year ahead academically from where their counterparts were two years ago. Indiana, the next closest state in growth, grew 15 points.
    • Tennessee had the largest growth of any state in a single testing cycle since NAEP started nationwide assessments in 2003. The next closest state was Maryland, with 19 points from 2005 to 2007.
    For complete data on Tennessee's NAEP results, visit http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013.

    haslam_naep

    Gov. Haslam announces that Tennessee students showed the largest growth in the country on the 2013 NAEP assessments.

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  • 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 made, now is not the time to press pause.

    Moving forward, Tennessee could continue to raise the bar through the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), which aims to focus the spectrum of learning standards in our nation. Not only will Common Core prepare students to be college- and career-ready with standards that specifically address what students should learn in high school, it will ensure that our nation’s academic expectations for student learning are keeping pace with our international counterparts.

    Governor Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ramsey, and Speaker Harwell have done a great job in making education a priority in Tennessee by boldly supporting transformative education reforms. However, they can’t do it alone. As the General Assembly prepares for another session, everyone must do their part in improving education, especially business owners. I urge you to reach out to your legislators, and become advocates for policies that put the students of this state first.

    StudentsFirst has been a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce member since 2013.
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  • 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 Dr. Jesse Register.
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  • 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 again in the coming year, including school voucher and charter school authorizer legislation. To view the Legislative Scorecard, click here.

    Other topics the committee plans to discuss this year include Metro Nashville Public Schools' human capital plan, Academies of Nashville high school reform, and upcoming legislative issues such as dual enrollment and charter schools.

    Special thanks to Charles Sueing of Sueing Insurance Agency for his committee leadership during 2012-2013. At the conclusion of the meeting, Miranda Christy, an attorney with Stites & Harbison, took the gavel for 2013-2014.

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  • 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 of states such as North Carolina, where DE is limited to the core general education classes that lead directly to a degree, as well as career and technical education pathways that meet state workforce needs.
    • Designate a “home” for Tennessee’s DE program. Two years ago, the General Assembly set up an office in the Tennessee Department of Education to oversee other early-college strategies such as dual credit and Advanced Placement that are high school-based. Because DE courses are taught by higher education faculty and generate college transcripts, CCRC recommends that an Office of Dual Enrollment be set up within Tennessee’s higher education structure in order to coordinate the program, provide accountability for results and troubleshoot problems.
    • Address the funding gap. Currently, lottery scholarship dollars cover $300 for each DE course, but the cost of tuition at most community colleges is closer to $450, putting this opportunity out of reach for many students of limited financial means. In addition, school systems are under no obligation to provide the textbooks for these courses, adding to the financial burden on students. CCRC recommends that Tennessee follow the lead of Florida and Georgia and provide DE at no cost to the high school student.
    The study was commissioned through a unique partnership of regional, state and national partners, both public and private: Committee for Economic Development, the Kresge Foundation, the Nashville Area Chamber, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, the Tennessee College Access & Success Network, and the State Board of Education. You can access CCRC’s final report and their presentation on the Chamber’s education reports & publications page.

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  • 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 at the ballot box if Congress fails to pass legislation.

    The Nashville Area Chamber Commerce supports S. 744 and encourages its members to send messages of support to Senator Alexander, Senator Corker and Middle Tennessee’s congressional delegation. For more information on how to engage on this issue, visit Middle Tennessee Business Voice.


    Yuri Cunza, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announces the Tennessee poll results.

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