Learning from Leading States: Huge Improvements In Tennessee

As highlighted last week, Michigan’s students have lost substantial ground in student learning compared to other states over the last decade, particularly in early literacy. This is particularly troubling, as early literacy is a strong indicator of student success in school and later in life.

That’s why it’s critical that Michigan invests its current investments in early literacy – about $25 million annually – in strategies that work. Leading education states show the value of providing research-based support and thoughtful implementation for raising third-grade proficiency.

Tennessee is among the states showing how these strategies, done right, can dramatically raise student learning. According to the national assessment, Tennessee’s students are seeing some of the highest growth nationwide.

This growth is remarkable given Tennessee’s low-achieving past.

How have they done it? Tennessee has put a laser-like focus on ensuring all of its teachers and principals statewide are raising their teaching and learning performance standards to much higher college- and career-ready levels.  And they did that by investing in effective teaching and school leadership through important and innovative strategies:

  • Over several years, Tennessee leaders invested millions in their state’s statewide data-driven educator and support system, to ensure all educators were trained and supported to educate children at higher levels – and then held accountable for that implementation.
  • The state also invested resources to provide high-quality training for teachers, using an external vendor with a track-record of success in improving teaching and learning.
  • And they built a robust, PreK – Higher Education longitudinal data system, to track and inform teaching and learning. The state has been a national leader in providing on-going feedback and support for educators.

To achieve the improvement that our students need, Michigan requires strong and thoughtful leadership, comprehensive strategies for improvement, thoughtful implementation and a commitment to continued investments in policies and practices that work. Tennessee provides an important example of how a comprehensive, long-term approach can dramatically strengthen teaching and learning in Michigan.

Capitol Update

House Appropriations Committee. Today, April 19, at 10:30am and Wednesday, April 20 at 9am. Room 352 in the State Capitol Building.Agenda: House Bill 5294 (Pscholka – R) Omnibus budget appropriations, including the Department of Education Budget.

Senate Education Committee. Today, April 19, at noon. Room 110 of the Farnum Building. Agenda: HB 4493 (Kesto – R), regarding genocide education and SB 826, which would prohibit use of Michigan’s career- and college-ready academic standards. The measure would also prohibit use of an assessment that measures our academic standards and provides useful, comparative data on how Michigan student’s learning compares to students in other states.

House Education Committee, joint with House School Aid and Education Appropriation Subcommittees. Wednesday, April 20 at 8am. Room 519 of the House Office Building. Agenda: Presentations by Northwest Evaluation Association and the Michigan Department of Education on Assessments.

House Education Committee. Thursday, April 21 at 8:30am. Room 519 of the House Office Building. Agenda: HB 5409HB 5418, regarding discipline and behavioral interventions, and a presentation by the American Association of School Administrators regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act.

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