(Photo illustration by John Partipilo)

An ‘unprecedented flood’ of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says

BY: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — More than 1,600 book titles across 32 states were banned from public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, with the bulk of the ban requests coming from a handful of right-wing groups pushing for censorship of books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color, a new report issued Monday said. “What I […]

Tess Stovall, left, executive director of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, and Ashley Thomas, general counsel, at Thursday's public hearing in Rutherford County. (Photo: Justin Kanew/Tennessee Holler)

Sparks fly over Hillsdale-affiliated charter school appeal in Rutherford

BY: - September 15, 2022

In a state public hearing dominated by supporters of Hillsdale-affiliated American Classical Academy Rutherford, opponents of the charter school say they were shut out of a chance to speak. By the time Elizabeth Vollbrecht tried to sign up to voice her views at Wednesday’s event run by the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, the deadline […]

U.S. education secretary urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

BY: - September 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession. Cardona also touted the Biden administration’s recent student debt relief announcement in late August. The White […]

East Tennessee State University, (ETSU Facebook)

East Tennessee State refuses to discriminate regardless of court order on Biden guidance

BY: - September 6, 2022

East Tennessee State University tweaked an online description of federal protections for LGBTQ students, in response to a request from state Rep. John Ragan, but the university reasserted its non-discrimination policy stands for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. In response to a letter Joint Government Operations Committee Chairman John Ragan sent […]

(Getty Images)

Tennessee fails to address need for more Black educators

BY: - September 1, 2022

The end of August begins to bring a sense of normalcy to the awkward tension that always exists at the beginning of each school year, as teachers and students find ways to understand and relate to one another.  Like any human interaction, trust has to be built for a relationship to grow and, to learn […]

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade of the White House on May 4, 2022, to the Oval Office. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

Student loan forgiveness proves that if government can’t help Americans, what good is it?

BY: - August 30, 2022

When President Joe Biden announced last week a student loan relief plan, many Americans reacted as though he had encouraged the overthrow of the government or stolen classified documents.  Biden announced the U.S. Department of Education will cancel up to $20,000 in debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients. […]

East Tennessee State University, (ETSU Facebook)

Government Operations chair tells universities to drop LGBTQ policies

BY: - August 30, 2022

The House chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Government Operations Committee is unilaterally ordering state universities to suspend any policies making LGBTQ students a protected class amid federal litigation. In a letter to East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland, state Rep. John Ragan notified the university that because a federal court enjoined the U.S. Department of […]

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

Tennessee’s public school systems look for creative solutions to teacher shortages

BY: - August 24, 2022

Tennessee’s public schools are finding creative solutions to solve teacher shortages, a problem not limited to Tennessee, but experienced nationwide. The pandemic exacerbated existing teacher shortages, as school districts across the country  struggled to attract and retain staff, especially in critical areas such as special education, bilingual education, science, technology, engineering, math, career and technical […]

Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville (Photo: Getty Images)

School days aren’t like the old days

BY: - August 23, 2022

Social media is at its best when parents show photos of their kids going back to school, from the ‘first day of first grade’ shots of fresh-faced little ones dressed in new clothes to the galleries of high school graduates flying the coop to start college.  I love those pictures, because fall has always felt […]

Flanked by family members, GOP congressional nominee Andy Ogles told supporters Thursday he's ready to "get DC out of Tennessee." (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Beaman’s past adds questions to Ogles campaign

BY: - August 19, 2022

Nashville car magnate Lee Beaman appears to have rebounded from bizarre accusations his fourth wife made in their divorce trial, serving again on the Belmont Board of Trustees, donating thousands of dollars to conservative groups and candidates and serving as treasurer of Andy Ogles’ congressional campaign. All is forgiven, forgotten or cast as fabrications. For […]

Retired and current educators protest outside a recent public meeting to discuss a new Tennessee education funding formula. (Photo: John Partipilo)

How to confront Tennessee’s teacher shortage

BY: - August 15, 2022

Research shows educator shortages disproportionately impact students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and students from rural communities. The U.S. Department of Education points out that areas like special education, bilingual education, science, technology, engineering, math, career and technical education and early childhood education positions are hard to fill. That’s hardly news […]

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 […]