(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) On Wednesday, Tara Scarlett, Chair of the state’s Education Recovery and Innovation Commission shared the Commission’s third and final report on needed enhancements and improvements to Tennessee’s K-12 and higher education systems.
The report, A Vision: Every Tennessean Will Have High-Quality Education Necessary for Life, expands upon the Commission’s earlier work in exploring both the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education to introduce policy recommendations for improving education in Tennessee. Recommendations from the Commission’s final report focus on nine priority areas:
- Ensure students master literacy and numeracy skills.
- Address learning remediation and acceleration needs.
- Strengthen, retain, expand, and diversify the state’s education professionals.
- Equip schools and districts to address students’ well-being.
- Optimize capacity for flexible, high quality school options.
- Redesign high school to ensure students have access to flexible pathways to college and career.
- Streamline postsecondary systems to facilitate lifelong learning.
- Strengthen alignment across the K-12, postsecondary, and workforce systems.
- Incentivize locally led innovation.
Recommendations from the Year 3 report push Tennessee’s education systems into a modern era, suggesting the creation of new incentive programs for educator recruitment, expanding work-based learning opportunities, and increasing opportunities for students to demonstrate academic proficiency at their own pace, among 81 other recommendations.
“Our final report is the culmination of two years’ worth of work by a dedicated group of leaders with the input of educators and experts from across the state and nation. It is intended to address known education gaps and to set Tennessee up as an education leader for the next decade,” said Tara Scarlett, chair of the Education Recovery and Innovation Commission. “It is our hope that with these recommendations, every Tennessee student will receive the high-quality education they need to excel in the workforce and in life.”
During the 2022 legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly passed several recommendations posed by the Commission, including Public Chapter 760, which permits state colleges or universities to establish a teacher training program in any county with any local board of education; Public Chapter 794, which creates a dual enrollment pathway between two-year and four-year institutions; and Public Chapter 884, which encourages the Tennessee Board of Regents to create a Tennessee College of Applied Technology branch for each county, expanding access for thousands of students.
The Education Recovery and Innovation Commission was formed in 2020 through Public Chapter 792 to recommend strategies that will close educational gaps resulting from the 2020 pandemic and natural disaster school closures and modernize the state’s educational structure. Commission members were also charged with creating strategies to improve flexibility in the delivery of education to students.
On December 24, 2020, the Commission published its first report, Preliminary Report to the General Assembly: Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Tennessee’s Educational Systems, which examined the education environment in Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2021, the Commission released its second report, A Revitalization: Transforming Education in Tennessee, which proposed actionable recommendations for Tennessee to emerge as a leader in education and workforce development.
Recommendations from the Commission’s reports have been transmitted to the General Assembly, State Board of Education, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and higher education institutions across the state to invite innovation and modernization to the state’s education systems.
The Education Recovery and Innovation Commission was comprised of nine members, with three appointed by Governor Lee, three appointed by Lt. Governor McNally, and three appointed by Speaker Sexton. Commission members had varied backgrounds in government, higher education, K-12 education, business, healthcare, and education advocacy.
Visit www.tn.gov/sbe to learn more about the Education Recovery and Innovation Commission and its work.