Tennessee ranks low in the nation on public education indicators including curriculum standards, according to a 100-plus-page report released this morning by an education advocacy group spearheaded by former Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist.
Looking at metrics including national and state standardized test scores, ACT and SAT scores, and graduation rates, the report  – released by the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) – shows that Tennessee ranks consistently behind national averages.
“When one examines these metrics, one finds there are essentially none on which Tennessee ranks above the national average,” the report reads. “It is clear Tennessee has significant room to improve – first among states in the Southeast and then among states across the nation.”
The report also identifies five school districts in this state singled out as top performers, and includes case studies of effective practices in those districts. The five districts named are in Alcoa, Clinton, Trenton and Jefferson and Claiborne counties.
SCORE is intended to bring about statewide changes in public education. The steering committee is composed of state education, business and community leaders, and includes Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Tim Webb, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and Ingram Industries CEO Orrin Ingram.
SCORE committee members have met publicly in recent months with government officials and education experts ranging from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to value-added data pioneer Bill Sanders. Today’s report, titled “The State of Education in Tennessee,” is an interim detailing some of Tennessee’s educational strengths and weaknesses discovered to date in SCORE’s work. The group will issue an additional report later this year.
The report includes a profile of each public school district in Tennessee, as well as 34 “promising practices” from state public schools. Initiatives in place at Metro Nashville Public Schools are among those highlighted, including Teach for America, the New Teacher Project, and a study on merit-based compensation for teachers.
Visit tennesseescore.org for more information about SCORE.