After state legislators kick off the 110th General Assembly on Tuesday, members of both local school boards will be watching closely to see what is done about a handful of education-related issues.
The Bradley County Board of Education and the Cleveland Board of Education have each in recent months passed resolutions to share their views with state legislators.
These resolutions touched on everything from how schools are ranked to how the state funds salaries for school nurses.
On Nov. 6, 2017, the Cleveland Board of Education passed a resolution to “amend the letter grading of Tennessee schools.”
This resolution referenced the 2016 passage of House Bill 155 and Senate Bill 300, which later became law under Gov. Bill Haslam. This directed the Tennessee Department of Education to create an A-F letter grading system for public schools. This was set to begin this school year.
The resolution points out this grading system had been put into place in part to draw attention to area where achievement gaps need to be closed — in particular the gap between students who are “economically disadvantaged” and those who are not. However, the city school board feels the state assigning schools’ letter grades is not the best way to do this.
“The letter grading system will be grossly misleading to the public and will oversimplify the link between poverty and low test scores, thus stigmatizing low-performing schools that receive Ds and Fs, as well as the students who attend them,” the resolution reads.
The city school board is urging state legislators to amend the legislation requiring this grading system to be implemented.
The Bradley County Board of Education passed a similar resolution on this issue on Dec. 14, 2017, citing the same concerns.
During that same meeting, the county school board also passed resolutions asking for action on three other issues.