Feb 25, 2019
As the data in our recent State of Equity report suggest, the progress of our state’s students, particularly students of color and students living in low-income households, has been too incremental. In order to fulfill our constitutional promise of quality education to our state’s students, we need exponential growth. At CSE, we support and promote a strong policy environment and community that will: Promote innovative approaches, expand high-quality options, measure progress with meaningful success indicators and engage the community as experts along the way.
For CSE, innovation is not just about tinkering with the education system, it is about transforming the outcomes for our students furthest from access and opportunity. This means that our work has to be focused on creating a school environment where students get their basic needs of safety and education met, but also have an opportunity to thrive academically.
We know that parents and families are seeking quality school options for their children. As a state, we must listen to our families’ direct feedback on what type of schools they seek. This means that school design and programming may look different at each school. However, it also means our state and districts are responsible for ensuring that while each school may be unique, the quality of instruction is equal throughout the state.
While Tennessee provides some level of choice, parents and families are often left without meaningful information on the performance of their student’s school. Tennessee is fortunate to have a Department of Education that values the use of data and information to drive quality in instruction. Our state should strive toward purposeful transparency, where relevant and meaningful information on student, school, and system performance is provided publicly. When we highlight a breadth of data, we can spotlight areas that have historically been invisible to the system (for example, the racial disproportionality in discipline practice).
As advocates, we recognize that community engagement is at the center of our work. As we mentioned above, those most impacted by our state’s education policies are also those closest to the solutions. Our communities are experts who historically and systematically are ignored. At CSE, we will work to ensure that our state incorporates student and community feedback into our policy decisions. Feedback requires a joint effort, and we ask you, the public, to stay informed about the work we do. Engage and communicate with your student’s school and teachers. Attend meetings focused on education, and speak up where you have something to say. Your
voice is the most valuable in the room. Your voice can help shift a paradigm that has resulted in generations of students of color and students from low-income households leaving a system under potential. Your voice matters.
View our 2019 priorities and support bills here.