There are two levels of administrative licenses issued by the Tennessee Department of Education. After all, surely no one believes – specifically the administrators in Nashville – that almost 90 % of Tennessee students in the fourth and eighth grades are proficient in math and reading as shown on the TCAP (Tennessee Extensive Assessment Program). A report written earlier this year by Kevin Carey of Education Sector dramatically showed how significantly our Department of Education is playing loose with the facts. Meanwhile, NAEP ranks Tennessee as #40 in student achievement, and a lot more disturbing, since 1992, test scores have been reasonably been flat except for fourth grade math.
When compared to the other 50 states, Tennessee Department of Education claims that we are among the top five in the U.S. in eighth grade math and reading, fourth grade reading and math, and higher school reading. Curiously, the state Division of Education doesn’t schedule any press conferences to announce these scores, which come from the only national student test that permits us to truly examine students’ functionality across state lines.
All of this begs the question of why we never have a national standard that enables us to have comparables as part of No Kid Left Behind, but in the interest of states’ rights, when the federal law was passed, every state was provided the power to interpret their own requirements and progress. As extended as Tennessee is able – and most of all, prepared – to set the bar low so proficiency is high, the public is given a false sense of security that the individuals in the Tennessee Department of Education are taking care of organization.
Hopefully, now that Governor Phil Bredesen has breezed to victory and says that education will be his best priority in his second term, he’ll ask the difficult questions and demand much more out of DOE. Considering that we have had quite a few conversations more than the previous year relating to the enormous quantity of disinformation revolving around education I am shocked that you have been prepared to go out on this limb.
Meanwhile, it may have only been curious to us, but soon after the fine series written by Ruma Banerji Kumar and Halimah Abdullah in March in The Industrial Appeal, the newspaper’s coverage of the release of the Tennessee Report Card last week could have been utilised to develop momentum on these earlier articles. You have done a very great job of painting a pessimistic picture of the education alterations in Tennessee.