Education Commissioner Releases Update on State of Education in Tennessee

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | 10:54am

Today, Commissioner McQueen released an update on the department's strategic plan, Tennessee Succeeds, providing a snapshot of some of the department's key work from the past year, progress toward our goals, vision for the work ahead, and picture of the state of education in Tennessee. Of note:

  • The state has the highest graduation rate in Tennessee history.
  • The state has the highest average ACT composite in Tennessee history.
  • More students than ever before are earning postsecondary credits while in high school.
  • The state has continued to invest more in education, including a $100 million increase for teachers' salaries and $22 million for English learners.
  • The department's Read to be Ready coaching network, which is helping educators to improve how they teach elementary-aged students reading and literacy skills, has expanded to include 200 coaches that serve 83 school districts, ultimately reaching more than 2,500 teachers who teach 44,000 students.
  • This summer, over 9,000 elementary students who are not on track in reading are being served in statewide Read to be Ready camps across 107 school districts.
  • The department, along with thousands of education community members across the state, developed a robust plan to transition to the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and aligned that plan to Tennessee Succeeds. It refines and deepens our work in areas like school improvement, how we support historically underserved student groups like English learners, and well-rounded school accountability.
  • Through a new Ready Graduate indicator, we have a renewed focus on ensuring all students are truly ready for their next step when they graduate high school, whether that's through taking early college courses, earning industry credentials, or meeting scoring benchmarks on the ACT or military entrance exam.
  • Commissioner McQueen has now met with more than 13,000 teachers and visited 770 classrooms in 118 school districts through her Classroom Chronicles tour.
  • And with the release of new scores from the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) science tests, Tennessee now ranks in the top half of all states on three key national assessments – a tremendous improvement from just a decade ago, when the state began to think differently about how it approaches education after receiving two "Fs" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for how students were being prepared.

"I have never been more proud to be a part of Tennessee's work in education," Commissioner McQueen said. "Over the past year, with the support of our districts, educators, families, advocates, business leaders, elected officials, and higher education partners, we have made incredible strides in strengthening our K-12 education system. I am confident that our collective efforts will lead to the success and well-rounded growth of Tennessee's future leaders."

You can read more from Commissioner McQueen about the state of education in Tennessee on the department's blog and in a letter she is sending to stakeholders this week. The strategic plan update is available on the department's website.

For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or 615-483-1671.

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