East High School in Memphis. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Memphis-Shelby County School Board candidates face challenges to system

BY: - August 3, 2022

Memphis-Shelby County School Board races remain nonpartisan, unlike 59 other Tennessee counties, with four seats up for election.  Board members will have several challenges to address: Students in Memphis, a majority-minority city, were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic economically and academically. School closures due to remote learning, COVID-case surges and teacher shortages led […]

Educators protesting before Thursday's public comment session on a new state education funding plan at Nashville's Ellington Agricultural Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Lawmakers predict new funding formula will change voucher costs – maybe

BY: - July 29, 2022

The new K-12 funding formula approved by the Legislature could change the cost of Tennessee’s voucher program, initially set at $25 million three years ago, as well as funding for charter schools. But lawmakers’ understanding of the relationship between the funding plan and the voucher program varies widely. Senate Education Committee Chairman Jon Lundberg acknowledges […]

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On the record with Metro Nashville Public Schools board candidates

BY: - July 28, 2022

Davidson County is one of 59 Tennessee counties offering partisan school board elections for the first time after the legislature passed a bill to allow them during a 2021 special session.  As in other large counties, including Williamson and Knox, opposing candidates are in many races facing off over divisions created by school districts’ management […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro, Shelby seek voucher injunction as state plows ahead

BY: - July 25, 2022

Metro Nashville and Shelby County are asking a Davidson County court to put a hold on the state’s Education Savings Account program, claiming it places an unconstitutional private school voucher program on two school districts at the expense of the counties that fund them and the students who remain. The counties sought an injunction Friday […]

Now-shuttered Sullivan Central High School, at which Jeremy McLaughlin taught prior to his resignation. (Photo: Facebook, Sullivan Central High School))

Former Sullivan County teacher tests U.S. Supreme Court ruling on First Amendment in suit

BY: - July 25, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled the prayers of Washington state high school football coach at the 50-yard line after games are protected free speech and now a Tennessee teacher claims his  expletive-laced social media posts on topics ranging from masking during the COVID pandemic to former President Donald Trump are also protected. A lawsuit […]

Northwest Middle School in Knox County (Photo: Northwest Middle School Facebook)

Analysis: Knox County Board of Education candidates

BY: - July 20, 2022

Last fall, in a move opposed by many nonpartisan education organizations such as the Tennessee School Boards Association, the General Assembly voted to allow partisan school board races. Both local parties in Knox County elected to support candidates for the Board of Education, setting up several partisan battles across the district. In the first local […]

Franklin High School (Photo: Williamson County Schools)

In Tennessee’s first partisan school board elections, candidates in key races address issues

BY: - July 18, 2022

In Williamson County, candidates are competing in hotly contested school board races, representing how divisive politics have become around teachers and students.  Last year, Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill allowing political parties to nominate candidates for school board races, which were previously nonpartisan elections. The bill followed a series of clashes between […]

Joseph Fons holding a Pride Flag, stands in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building after the court ruled that LGBTQ people can not be disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation June 15, 2020. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Tennessee federal judge blocks Biden Administration LGBTQ protections

BY: - July 17, 2022

A Tennessee federal judge is blocking the Biden administration from enforcing an executive order designed to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in schools and the workplace. U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. on Friday issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily bars the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from enforcing […]

Gov. Bill Lee during a Wednesday media avaliablilty in Nashville. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Stockard on the Stump: State jumps on vouchers after court lifts injunction

BY: - July 15, 2022

Gov. Bill Lee finally got to say something besides “I love teachers” this week when a three-judge panel vacated an injunction against the governor’s Education Savings Account program. No pesky reporters asking questions such as, “Are you going to disavow the idiotic statements of Hillsdale President Larry Arnn?” The college president who wants to start […]

Gov. Bill Lee talks with students at Haywood High School on Sept. 28 2021. (Photo: Official photo of Gov. Bill Lee)

Career educator: Tennessee Gov. Lee fooled me into thinking he cares about public education

BY: - July 14, 2022

In September, I accepted a position as the Chief Communications Officer for Haywood County Schools in Brownsville, Tenn.  For anyone unfamiliar, Brownsville is the home of singer Tina Turner, the Hatchie River, and is about 30 miles east of Memphis.  Since last fall, though, its identity has been found as the new home of Ford’s […]

Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, addressing the House of Representatives in April 2022. Chair of the House Education Administration Committee, White said plans for Hillsdale College to operate charter schools in Tennessee are "shattered." (Photo: John Partipilo)

Education chairman: Hillsdale College’s charter hopes in Tennessee are ‘shattered’

BY: - July 12, 2022

The chairman of Tennessee’s House Education Administration Committee says Hillsdale College’s plan to operate dozens of charter schools in Tennessee has been “shattered” by comments its president made about teachers and colleges of education. Rep. Mark White, R-East Memphis, in a Facebook post, vehemently disagreed with Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, contending he was trying […]

Gov. Bill Lee signs an executive order on June 6 that reinforces existing school safety guidelines. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Lukewarm Lee’s failure to take a stand may cost him his career

BY: - July 11, 2022

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last couple of weeks pondering the conundrum that is Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. During that time, Lee has faced a barrage of criticism for his failure to repudiate comments by the president of Hillsdale College, Larry Arnn, the latter of whom was captured on video at […]