New Changes to TN Education Law You Should Know

TN Education (and relevant) Bills passed during 2018 Legislative Session

  • Sanc­tu­ary City Bill (HB2315/SB2332) | Pub­lic Chap­ter 973
    Pro­hibits state and local gov­ern­men­tal enti­ties and offi­cials from adopt­ing sanc­tu­ary poli­cies. Autho­rizes Ten­nessee res­i­dents and mem­bers of the state leg­is­la­ture to sub­mit com­plaints to the attor­ney gen­er­al if they feel a local enti­ty or offi­cial are pro­vid­ing “sanc­tu­ary” pro­tec­tions. Requires law enforce­ment agen­cies to enter into mem­o­ran­dums of agree­ment with fed­er­al immi­gra­tion offi­cials in the enforce­ment of fed­er­al immi­gra­tion law. This law broad­ens the def­i­n­i­tion of law enforce­ment and now includes cam­pus police and School Resource Offi­cers (SROs).  Effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2019.
  • 2017–2018 TNReady Mis­ad­min­is­tra­tion Bill (HB1981/SB1623) | Pub­lic Chap­ter 881
    Per­mits each local board of edu­ca­tion to choose a per­cent­age between zero per­cent (0%) to fif­teen per­cent (15%) that a score from the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ments shall count on a student’s final grade for the spring semes­ter.  Pro­hibits stu­dent per­for­mance and stu­dent growth data from the TNReady assess­ments admin­is­tered in the 2017–18 school year from being used to assign an A-F let­ter grade to a school. Pro­hibits stu­dent per­for­mance and stu­dent growth data from the TNReady assess­ments admin­is­tered in 2017–18 school year from being used to iden­ti­fy a school as a pri­or­i­ty school or to assign a school to the achieve­ment school dis­trict. Pro­hibits LEAs from bas­ing employ­ment ter­mi­na­tion and com­pen­sa­tion deci­sions for teach­ers dur­ing the 2017–18 school year on data gen­er­at­ed by the 2017–18 statewide assess­ments. Effec­tive May 3, 2018.
  • No Adverse Action Bill (HB75/SB578) | Pub­lic Chap­ter 1026
    No adverse action may be tak­en again­st any stu­dent, teacher, school, or LEA based, in whole or in part, on stu­dent achieve­ment data gen­er­at­ed from the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ments. For pur­pos­es of this sec­tion, adverse action includes, but is not lim­it­ed to, the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of a school as a pri­or­i­ty school and the assign­ment of a school to the achieve­ment school dis­trict.” Effec­tive May 21, 2018.
  • Tuition Trans­paren­cy & Account­abil­i­ty Act (HB1684/SB1665)  | Pub­lic Chap­ter 614
    Requires pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty gov­ern­ing boards to post 15 day pri­or notice and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for pro­posed increas­es in tuition. Notice peri­od shall provide pub­lic oppor­tu­ni­ty to provide com­ment pri­or to board vote. By Feb­ru­ary 1 each year, each gov­ern­ing board shall provide the office of leg­isla­tive bud­get analy­sis a report detail­ing the expen­di­ture of rev­enues derived from the tuition and fee increas­es from the pri­or year. Begin­ning August 1, 2019, pub­lic 4-year insti­tu­tions shall provide every accept­ed stu­dent with a non-bind­ing, pre­dic­tive cost pro­jec­tion for a student’s cho­sen field of study over a four-year peri­od. Effec­tive July 1, 2018.
  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee FOCUS Act (HB2115/SB2260) | Pub­lic Chap­ter 657
    Recon­sti­tutes the board of trustees of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee from 27 mem­bers to 12. Bill also revis­es oth­er relat­ed pro­vi­sions to the UT board of trustees and the advi­so­ry boards for UT-Knoxville, UT-Mar­t­in, UT-Chat­tanooga, and UT-Health Sci­ence Cen­ter. Effec­tive April 6, 2018.

Pertinent Bills that did not pass during the 2018 Legislative Session

  • In-State Tuition Bill (HB2429/SB2263)
    Allowed stu­dents to pay in-state tuition, regard­less of immi­gra­tion sta­tus, if they had attend­ed Ten­nessee schools three years pri­or to high school grad­u­a­tion, and were enrolled in a Ten­nessee pub­lic insti­tu­tion.  Bill failed in com­mit­tee.
  • Annu­al Implic­it Bias In-Ser­vice Train­ing for School Per­son­nel (SB2545/ HB2516)
    Requires all school per­son­nel to receive annu­al implic­it bias in-ser­vice train­ing in order to deliv­er more equi­table edu­ca­tion to all stu­dents. Requires the depart­ment of edu­ca­tion to devel­op a mod­el evi­dence-based bias reduc­ing pro­gram to be used by school per­son­nel. Autho­rizes the LEA to devel­op its own pro­gram to be approved by the com­mis­sion­er. Requires stu­dents desir­ing a license to teach to com­plete implic­it bias train­ing. Removed from con­sid­er­a­tion in com­mit­tee.
  • Train­ing for teach­ers allowed to car­ry con­cealed firearms (SB2563/ HB2208)
    Autho­rized a teach­ers to con­ceal and car­ry a firearm in a rural coun­ty upon com­ple­tion of a 40 hour gun train­ing class. Bill failed in com­mit­tee.
  • Com­plete to Com­pete Act:The Com­plete Col­lege Ten­nessee Act of 2018 (HB2114/SB2259Required Ten­nessee Promise and Ten­nessee HOPE recip­i­ents to com­plete 30 cred­it hours three con­sec­u­tive semes­ters. Bill also would have pre­scribed sched­ul­ing for all TBR stu­dents. Bill failed in the House (41–46-10). Not vot­ed on in the Sen­ate.

Updates to ESSA Accountability Based on April 2018 Legislation

ESSA Back­ground
In Decem­ber of 2015 Pres­i­dent Oba­ma signed the Every Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act (ESSA). ESSA is the reau­tho­riza­tion of the Ele­men­tary and Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion Act and has effec­tive­ly replaced No Child Left Behind. Through ESSA, states were given the respon­si­bil­i­ty to cre­ate their own account­abil­i­ty sys­tems and state goals based on their speci­fic state con­text. In 2016, states began the process of writ­ing ESSA state plans with stake­hold­er engage­ment. In Ten­nessee, the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion host­ed mul­ti­ple stake­hold­er groups and state work­ing groups, along with state lis­ten­ing tours and elec­tron­ic feed­back oppor­tu­ni­ties. In March of 2017 Ten­nessee sub­mit­ted their state plan to the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, which was approved in August of 2017. The Ten­nessee Suc­ceeds ESSA State Plan went into effect in the 2017–2018 school year.

Under the new plan, dis­trict will be held account­able based on 6 indi­ca­tors, for all stu­dents and each stu­dent sub­group. Schools will fol­low a sim­i­lar mod­el, with slight­ly dif­fer­ent indi­ca­tors. The plan, as writ­ten, would have give A-F sum­ma­tive rat­ings for schools. In April of 2018, the Ten­nessee Gen­er­al Assem­bly passed leg­is­la­tion chang­ing cer­tain ele­ments of test­ing and account­abil­i­ty for the 2017–2018 school year due to issues with TNReady imple­men­ta­tion. 

April Leg­is­la­tion: Changes to TNReady & Account­abil­i­ty
The Gen­er­al Assem­bly recent­ly passed two bills (here and here) address­ing the use of data gen­er­at­ed from the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ment.

Pub­lic Chap­ter 881:

  • Per­mits each local board of edu­ca­tion to choose a per­cent­age between zero per­cent (0%) to fif­teen per­cent (15%) that a score from the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ments shall count on a student’s final grade for the spring semes­ter. Present law requires fif­teen per­cent (15%) of a student’s final grade to be based on the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ment.
  • Pro­hibits stu­dent per­for­mance and stu­dent growth data from the TNReady assess­ments admin­is­tered in the 2017–18 school year from being used to assign an A-F let­ter grade to a school.
  • Pro­hibits stu­dent per­for­mance and stu­dent growth data from the TNReady assess­ments admin­is­tered in 2017–18 school year from being used to iden­ti­fy a school as a pri­or­i­ty school or to assign a school to the achieve­ment school dis­trict.
  • Pro­hibits LEAs from bas­ing employ­ment ter­mi­na­tion and com­pen­sa­tion deci­sions for teach­ers dur­ing the 2017–18 school year on data gen­er­at­ed by the 2017–18 statewide assess­ments.

Pub­lic Chap­ter 1026 adds a new sec­tion to the law stat­ing the fol­low­ing:

  • No adverse action may be tak­en again­st any stu­dent, teacher, school, or LEA based, in whole or in part, on stu­dent achieve­ment data gen­er­at­ed from the 2017–18 TNReady assess­ments. For pur­pos­es of this sec­tion, adverse action includes, but is not lim­it­ed to, the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of a school as a pri­or­i­ty school and the assign­ment of a school to the achieve­ment school dis­trict.”

Impact to Dis­trict and School Account­abil­i­ty
Dis­trict account­abil­i­ty will still assess stu­dent per­for­mance in six areas across mul­ti­ple mea­sures. The score for each area will reflect a com­bi­na­tion of absolute per­for­mance or AMO tar­gets and val­ue-added data. In accor­dance with the April leg­is­la­tion, no adverse action will be tak­en again­st a dis­trict based on the dis­trict des­ig­na­tions (more here).

The April leg­is­la­tion pro­vides that “stu­dent per­for­mance and stu­dent growth data from the TNReady assess­ments admin­is­tered in the 2017–18 school year shall not be used to assign a let­ter grade to a school pur­suant to this sec­tion.” This means schools will not receive an over­all let­ter grade or a let­ter grade for any of the indi­ca­tors for the 2017–18 school year. How­ev­er, ESSA requires “mean­ing­ful dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion” for all pub­lic schools and all stu­dents and each sub­groups. Ten­nessee will use a 0.0–4.0 scale for each indi­ca­tor but will not pub­lish an over­all sum­ma­tive label (more here).

Exam­ple of the 0.0–4.0 scale:

Impact to School Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and School Improve­ment
No school will be iden­ti­fied as a Pri­or­i­ty school using 2017–18 TNReady data. The Pri­or­i­ty school cal­cu­la­tion will be based on a two-year suc­cess rate for high schools and a one-year suc­cess rate for K-8 schools that incor­po­rates only TCAP data from the 2015–16 (high school only) and 2016–17 school years. 

TDOE will run the Pri­or­i­ty school cal­cu­la­tion includ­ing 2017–18 TNReady data to remove schools from the list that ben­e­fit from the use of 2017–18 data.

Cur­rent Pri­or­i­ty schools that are also iden­ti­fied on the 2018 Pri­or­i­ty list will con­tin­ue on their cur­rent inter­ven­tion track; how­ev­er, they will not be eli­gi­ble for place­ment in the Achieve­ment School Dis­trict in the 2018–19 school year.

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