Education

U.S. Dept. of Education

WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — The stakes are high tonight as President Barack Obama faces off against Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the second of three presidential campaign debates.

The meeting will take place on the campus of Hofstra University in New York. Undecided voters attending the debate will get a chance to ask the night’s questions.

WMOT is asking Tennesseans what one question they would ask the candidates if given the chance. Today we hear from Scott Smith. Smith lives in Antioch and works retail sales in Murfreesboro.

WMOT

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  More than 300 educators from across Tennessee arrived in the mid-state Monday to learn more about using mobile devices in the classroom.

The conference is being sponsored jointly by Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Board of Regents. Educators from 18 Tennessee Universities and Colleges are providing input.

Tom Wallace, head of MTSU’s Information Technology Division , is the conference host.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A new study finds Tennessee's kids are the healthiest in the South.

According to The Tennessean, the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count evaluation placed Tennessee 16th in the nation in children's well-being.

Linda O’Neal directs the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. She says Tennessee kids enjoyed a significant improvement in health over the past year.

“Tennessee’s rank this year was 36. We were 39th last year. We were especially pleased to see improvements in health indicators.”

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  State legislators recently wrapped up the work of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly and WMOT is asking newsmakers from across the political spectrum to share their impressions of the session.

Today we hear the views of Gera Summerford, president of the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Tennessee Education Association.

Summerford says that, compared to last year when the legislature enacted a number of measures the TEA opposed, this most recent session was far less confrontational.

Photo courtesty ECF

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Six of the 18 Tennessee schools honored this week for academic gains are located here in the Mid-State. Two are located in Rutherford County.

Principal Barbara Sales of Murfreesboro’s Hobgood Elementary and Principal Andra Helton of Rutherford County’s Thurman Francis Elementary picked up “Value-Added Achievement Awards” for their schools on Monday.

The awards are based on data tracked by the Tennessee Department of Education and indicate schools that show significant improvement in test scores year-over-year.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  The Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it’s already talking to potential plaintiffs about challenging Tennessee’s so-called "monkey law."

The measure became law Tuesday without Governor Haslam’s signature. The governor complained that the bill would likely cause confusion, but also noted that it passed with comfortable margins in both chambers of the Tennessee legislature.

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers appear determined to legislate parent involvement in the education of their children and that has the head of the state Parent Teacher Association fired up.

Legislators are considering one measure that would have parents rate themselves on their level of involvement. A second proposal would ask school districts to develop a parental involvement contract .

Karen Davis, President of the Tennessee PTA is opposed to both measures.

TBR

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 46 institutions of higher learning governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents have nothing to fear from President Barack Obama’s latest education initiative, according to TBR Chancellor John Morgan. 

The Associated Press says in a story released Monday that the Obama administration is concerned about rising student debt, which now averages over $25,000. The president is also reportedly concerned by the apparent disconnect between what students learn at the nation's universities and the skills employers say they're looking for.

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he hopes Tennessee's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind education law boosts teacher morale.

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that Tennessee is among 10 states to receive the waiver.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, which critics say is unrealistic.

Phil Waldrop, the Associate Dean at Middle Tennessee State’s College of Education says it’s one less thing for teachers to worry about.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Tenn (AP/WMOT) — Governor Bill Haslam's plan to lift a cap on class size averages is meeting resistance from educators.

The Republican is calling the proposal a key element of his effort to allow school districts to hike teacher salaries. Haslam told reporters after visiting a Maury County middle school Tuesday that Tennessee is the only state to set maximums for both total and average class sizes.

Haslam says increasing class size means schools could get by with fewer teachers, freeing up the money needed to pay the remaining teachers higher salaries.

NASHVILLE, TN (AP) Some Tennessee lawmakers and teachers said Wednesday they would like this to be a pilot year for a new evaluation system that for the first time will use students' standardized test scores as part of the process.

Members of the House Education Committee heard testimony from school administrators and teachers about the evaluation, which is comprised of 35 percent of students' value-added test scores that track students' progress on standardized tests over time. Many educators say that's an unfair measurement because students test differently.