The day before the Tennessee General Assembly ended business, members posed for a photo. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: So long, farewell

BY: - April 29, 2022

Despite great grinding and gnashing of teeth, the Legislature adopted an ethics reform bill on the final day of the 112th session, one designed to shed more light on so-called dark money. Nonprofit groups that have been raising Cain about the bill, claiming it will require them to file reports for something as innocuous as […]

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Commentary: Legislators are mini-Pharaohs treating the state’s servants shamefully

BY: - April 28, 2022

As a special education advocate and former high school teacher, the mother of two sons who have attended public school, private school, and homeschool, and the wife of a high school teacher, I am a strong defender of our public school libraries. Unfortunately, it seems Speaker of the Tennessee House Cameron Sexton and his Republican […]

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

Knox County Schools declines questions about officer assault of middle schooler

BY: - April 28, 2022

A Knoxville Police Department officer slammed the face of a handcuffed middle school student onto a table—causing a gash on the boy’s chin—in a search for marijuana that didn’t exist, court records and video obtained by the Tennessee Lookout show. “I had no choice,” KPD School Resource Officer David Lee told the restrained, slightly-built Northwest […]

Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, at left with Rep. Chris Hurt. R-Halls, said he would burn books deemed inappropriate by the state school textbook commission. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Representative says he would burn books deemed inappropriate by state

BY: - April 27, 2022

State Rep. Jerry Sexton said Wednesday he would “burn” books found obscene by an expanded state textbook commission charged with policing school library selections. In debate with Sexton over legislation requiring school districts to submit lists of library books to the commission, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, asked what the state would do with […]

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

Germantown schools takeover advances in Tennessee House

BY: - April 27, 2022

On Tuesday, a controversial bill allowing Germantown to take over Shelby County schools in their district was amended to include tighter restrictions if both parties were unable to reach an agreement by next year. On April 4, HB2430 passed despite outcries from Memphis Democrats that forcing Shelby County schools to cede four properties to Germantown […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Truth-in-sentencing, K-12 funding, Titans stadium part of talks in $52.8B state budget plan

BY: - April 21, 2022

A truth-in-sentencing bill pushed by the House and Senate speakers, along with a K-12 funding plan and $500 million in state bonds for a new Titans stadium are the focal points of negotiations as the two chambers prepare to consider different $52.8 billion budget plans Thursday. The House and Senate are expected to take up […]

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Judge shoots down Knox County gum-chewing lawsuit

BY: - April 18, 2022

Parents of a Knox County high school freshman with a rare hearing disorder are seeking an emergency appeal after a federal judge refused to force the Board of Education to ban eating and gum chewing in classrooms, court records show. U.S. District Judge Katherine Crytzer on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of […]

(Photo illustration by John Partipilo)

More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel asks why

BY: - April 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on Thursday examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers. “Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, […]

Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, during a meeting of the Joint Government Operations Committee on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Charter schools bill rises from ashes in effort to open doors

BY: - March 16, 2022

Legislation designed to shift “under-utilized” public school buildings to charter schools looked like it was dead this week but then resurfaced the same day, drawing a rebuke from a subcommittee chairman. The sharp words came Tuesday from Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, as Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, introduced a bill, HB591, giving charter schools the first […]

The Tennessee Senate Chambers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Senators challenge K-12 funding formula impact on local taxes

BY: - March 15, 2022

The Senate Education Committee chairman said Monday he believes county commissioners should sock away money to prepare for the effects of a new K-12 funding formula on local taxes. Senators are trying to figure out the effect of a $9.5 billion funding formula shift on local governments, which are to be held harmless for three […]