Knox County Board of Education
2014 Legislative Priorities
The Knox County Board of Education has identified the following legislative priorities:
Focus on Implementation
With higher academic standards, innovative instructional initiatives, and intensive accountability, Tennessee has become a national leader in public education reform. To maintain this leadership position, and accelerate our achievements, educators must now be provided the time and resources to fully implement the important initiatives adopted by the General Assembly over the past few years.
Funding for Public Education
The Knox County Board of Education believes it is crucial to the future of our state that the Legislature fully fund the Basic Education Program (BEP), including the recent recommendations of the BEP Review Committee, and implementation of the second phase of education finance reform ("BEP 2.0").
Support for Teacher Performance Evaluation
The Knox County Board of Education embraces annual performance evaluation of teachers as a critical professional development and instructional improvement tool. The Board firmly supports teacher-driven improvements to the evaluation system. We urge the legislature and State Board of Education to more closely align teacher effect scores to students the teachers directly instruct, and to make teacher evaluation better reflect different educator roles.
Opposition to School Vouchers
The Board of Education opposes any legislation to create a voucher program in Tennessee that would divert money intended for public education to private schools. Private schools are not required to serve all students, nor meet Tennessee’s nationally recognized standards and accountability measures. Vouchers would therefore diminish equal opportunity and public accountability by channeling public tax dollars to private schools that do not face state equity standards and accountability requirements.
Local Authorizers of Charter Schools
The Board supports high quality charter schools, but believes the power to authorize charters should remain with local Boards of Education (to ensure a productive relationship and clear accountability) rather than a state-wide authorizer.
The Knox County School Board urges the legislature not to revert to elected Superintendents. We believe the popular election of school superintendents is inefficient, and a poor governance structure that would lead to less accountability, not more.
Local Control of Public Education
The Knox County Board of Education urges the legislature to leave decisions regarding public education in the hands of local school boards, who understand their communities' needs best.