Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro balks at new state law forbidding mask mandates

BY: - November 15, 2021

Metro Nashville Public Schools is bucking a state law the governor signed into action Friday preventing school districts from requiring students to wear masks to ward off the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw in Middle Tennessee issued an order Sunday allowing the status quo for mask rules to […]

Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee on September 15, 2021. East High School in Memphis. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Battle lines drawn over governor’s education funding review

BY: - November 10, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee and supporters call his statewide review of Tennessee’s K-12 funding formula an effort to target money to fit each student’s needs. Critics, in contrast, say it is an effort to fast track and funnel state dollars to private schools if the Tennessee Supreme Court approves the governor’s education savings account program. At […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Regressive discipline policy in Jackson-Madison County Schools is wrong direction

BY: - November 8, 2021

Up until about a month ago, my work days were spent in the presence of 20-25 adolescents who were navigating changing bodies, volatile emotions, teen angst, and the best way to learn the latest TikTok dances.  In other words, I was a middle school teacher – arguably the most challenging job in the world of […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Fines for school board members, limits on the governor: Thursday’s special session bills

BY: and - October 28, 2021

A slew of far-reaching measures designed to curb local dissent over state COVID policies, and to check the governor’s emergency powers, sailed easily through Republican-dominated committee hearings during Thursday’s specially called legislative session.  They include harsh new penalties for locally elected school board members who defy executive orders and a mechanism for the Attorney General […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Feds approve using COVID relief funds to expand home services for Tennesseans with disabilities

BY: - October 28, 2021

The federal government has approved a plan to use COVID relief funds to enroll up to 2,000 Tennesseans with disabilities — who are currently on a waiting list —  into a state program that provides home and community-based services. The expansion of the program  — known as Employment and Community First CHOICES, or ECF-CHOICES — […]

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

COVID death toll among Tennessee public school employees rises

BY: - October 22, 2021

School counselors were on-hand at Walter Hill Elementary in Rutherford County as students and staff learned Thursday of the latest COVID death to impact the school system: a 49-year-old custodian, who had worked at other schools in the district before starting a new job at the elementary school in September. The employee, Angela Dawn Crook, […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Shakeup at Department of Education includes demotion of state’s top special education official

BY: - October 7, 2021

As Gov. Bill Lee battles lawsuits from parents of kids with disabilities — along with a federal civil rights investigation into whether his ban on universal masking in schools discriminates against kids at high risk for serious illness from COVID —  the state’s top special education official has been demoted. Theresa Nicholls served as Assistant […]

Shelby County Courthouse. (Photo:

After a school shooting, Shelby County weighs strengthening early childhood education

BY: - October 7, 2021

A week after a school shooting critically injured one student at a K-8 school, Shelby County officials on Wednesday debated directing more resources into early childhood education, with one resolution focused violence prevention measures. Members of the education committee of the Shelby County Commission recommended approval of a $500,000 contract with Porter-Leath, a historic Memphis […]

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, left, with Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Schwinn denies piloting materials in book adoption, but LIFT did

BY: - September 24, 2021

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn told lawmakers this week the state didn’t pilot any materials during the English Language Arts adoption two years ago, nor is it in the upcoming math adoption process. She made the statement just two weeks after state textbook commission members made it clear the 18-month book and material selection lies […]

Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee on September 15, 2021. Kingsbury Middle School in Berclair neighborhood of Memphis. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Tennessee sees student improvement from summer programs

BY: - September 22, 2021

Tennessee students who took part in summer camps improved in English and math, regaining some of their pandemic learning loss, after the Legislature pumped $160 million into new programs, according to new data the state released Wednesday. Test scores from 120,000 students who participated in the classes showed an improvement of 5.97 percentage points overall […]

Doherty, 19, and his mother, Tommi, at their Nashville home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

“I feel like the public schools have let us down.”

BY: - September 22, 2021

Last school year wasn’t easy, but with the help of his mother, Joey Doherty kept up with Zoom classes taught by the special education teachers he has known for years. This year, Joey – a high school senior who is 19 years old, blind in one eye, has Down Syndrome and a host of resulting […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Education panels won’t hear Hakeem’s Black history bill

BY: - September 21, 2021

A joint meeting of House Education committees isn’t likely to consider Rep. Yusuf Hakeem’s Black history education bill this week even though he was told it would be made “perfect” in summer study. The Chattanooga Democrat sought to increase Black history curriculum in grades 5-8 earlier this year, but the House Education Instruction Committee voted […]