- TN pays more to Teach for America than any other state (which is probably because our appointed Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman, used to work for TFA before it was revealed on national news that federal funds were mismanaged under his leadership. That’s another story for another day. If you want the details, click HERE)
- Since winning Race to the Top, TN has not increased its pre-K programs by even one seat.
- During the first 3 years of Race to the Top in TN, money spent with Pearson tripled.
- No real change in terms of impact of poverty on test scores since 1966 in TN.
- Charter schools haven’t helped, they only take focus away from the issue of poverty.
- TN is not using RTTT money to develop a strong teacher corps.
Next, certain invited legislators and the press went a block away, (or it could have been to the moon - the settings were so starkly different) to the Hermitage Hotel to a fancy invitation-only event hosted by SCORE, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education. In an elegant ballroom that costs a small fortune to rent, the invited guests were dazzled by a guest panel of speakers including Dr. Bill Frist himself. Frist started the SCORE club, so it was only fitting that he be in attendance to discuss public education even though Frist’s own children never attended public schools. Most of the invited guests’ children also attend private schools. The handful of their children who attend public schools actually attend magnet schools, which are public schools that get extra resources and support to make them more special than ordinary public schools.
Anyway, the invited guests were each given thick SCORE Card books full of glossy photos of smiling children and cherry-picked test data. They listened to the speakers brag about their achievements in raising the test scores, as if they were the very ones to bubble in those correct answers themselves. Former Senator Jamie Woodson (who makes over $300,000 now as the CEO of SCORE) presided over the event like royalty.
The SCORE event not only included the speakers and expensive booklets, it also included a fancy lunch at the hotel. Yummy. Cha-ching.
And we noticed that SCORE recently got a brand new professional website. The old one was fine, but the new one smells richer. We wonder how much that cost? And who paid for it? And where their children attend school? And if their children are forced to take standardized tests and do common core?
Tennessee parents realize the stark difference between the down-to-earth TREE and the head-in-the-clouds SCORE. We sure hope our elected Representatives and Senators do, too. Our children are depending on legislators who have their feet firmly planted on the ground representing their interests, not corporate profits.