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Editorial Results (free)

1. Public pressure pushes health care to top priority -

Bill Lee waltzes into the governorship later this month with more goodwill on his side than most politicians have the right to expect.

The Republican, who takes the reigns Jan. 19, is inheriting a state with an unemployment rate under 4 percent, an improving education system, companies such as Amazon bringing in thousands of jobs and an approval rating of 57 percent, a Vanderbilt poll taken in December shows.

2. Reading grants announced for Tennessee 2019 program -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee has awarded $8.9 million for next year's summer reading program.

The state Education Department said Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the 218 public school recipients on Thursday. The funds go toward tuition-free, monthlong literacy camps for 8,910 students in need statewide.

3. Tennessee to allocate $35M to schools to improve safety -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has announced all 147 school districts in Tennessee have completed a first-ever statewide assessment of school facilities and safety procedures.

Haslam and Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen said Tuesday that those schools will now receive allocations from a $35 million fund dedicated to school security.

4. Nations Connect launches in Nashville -

We Are Nations recently established two new companies, We Are Nations Pty Ltd. and Nations Connect, LLC., based in Nashville.

We Are Nations is an eSports retail and merchandise company. Nations Connect was founded to create eSports partnerships with traditional entertainers, musicians and artists. The goal is to create meaningful, creative and exciting eSports relationships and partnerships.

5. Haslam announces school testing listening tour -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is launching a statewide tour to hear ideas to improve the state's problem-plagued elementary and secondary school online testing process.

Haslam announced Tuesday that the TNReady listening tour will include six stops statewide for teachers, administrators, and technology and assessment coordinators to discuss recent problems administering the tests and offer ideas for improvements.

6. Top Middle Tennessee residential sales for July 2018 -

Top residential real estate sales, July 2018, for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

7. TNReady testing the patience of all concerned -

If Clint Eastwood were to make to a sequel of “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver could play Granny Hawkins because of her penchant for blunt language.

On the run from Union troops after refusing to surrender early in the tale, the vengeful Wales runs into Granny Hawkins, who tells him she hears the feds are going to “heel and hide” him to a barn door.

8. Superintendents declare 'no confidence' in TNReady -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The superintendents of the state's two largest school districts have declared "no confidence" in TNReady after problems emerged with the standardized assessment.

The Tennessean reports Shelby County Schools Director Dorsey Hopson and Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Shawn Joseph issued the Friday letter that calls for halting the standardized assessment and the convening of an educator working group.

9. Look ahead to 2019 session: New faces, unfinished business -

The Tennessee Legislature took steps toward combating opioid abuse and reforming juvenile justice in the 2018 session but fell short of what many lawmakers hoped to achieve, setting the stage for renewed action in 2019 when a new General Assembly will convene.

10. Tennessee lawmakers agree to shield teachers from test problems -

The House and Senate broke gridlock Wednesday night on problems stemming from the results of troubled TNReady testing by passing legislation saying no “adverse action” would be taken against teachers, students or schools for poor test scores.

11. Tennessee lawmakers agree to shield teachers from test problems -

The House and Senate broke gridlock Wednesday night on problems stemming from the results of troubled TNReady testing by passing legislation saying no “adverse action” would be taken against teachers, students or schools for poor test scores.

12. House, Senate can't agree on remedy for TNReady debacle -

The day after Republican House leaders called for a review of the state’s TNReady testing vendor, the House of Representatives and Senate got stuck on the impact of botched testing this spring and the potential for incorrect student scores affecting teacher evaluations.

13. Schools’ success too dependent on weak vendor -

The “debacle” called TNReady, a standardized test ruling the lives of students, teachers and administrators, is the predictable result of brain drain – not by students but by Tennessee’s leaders.

14. Tennessee lawmakers scramble to pass fix to testing problems -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers scrambled to pass legislation Thursday to make sure no students, teachers or schools suffer as a result of repeated failures with the state assessment test.

15. Hacker blamed for 3rd TNReady computer snafu -

Frustrated by a third year of TNReady foul-ups, this time with testing statewide disrupted by a suspected hacker, state lawmakers are set to step in and put an end to what they feel is a fiasco.

Two measures are slated to be considered by the House this afternoon to put an end to mistakes in the administration of tests used to evaluate student progress and teacher effectiveness. School districts statewide were affected by the disruption this week, including Metro Nashville Public Schools, after an outside source hit the state’s testing vendor, Questar.

16. Tennessee has double the national average of guns at schools -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's education commissioner says the state has more than twice the national average of cases involving students bringing firearms to school.

Candice McQueen says Tennessee had 7.5 incidents per 100,000 students in the 2015-16 school year; the national average is 3.1 incidents.

17. CapStack buys Nashville properties -

CapStack Partners has acquired three Nashville properties with 475 units. The acquisition includes The Vistas, a 205-unit property, Fawnwood Apartments, a 158-unit property, and Archwood Meadows, a 112-unit property.

18. Officials promise better Tennessee teacher preparation -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee education officials plan to increase teacher preparation program outcomes across the state.

The Tennessean reports the promise follows the launch of a Tennessee Board of Education database detailing how many of the state's preparation programs aren't meeting expected quality standards. Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause said on Tuesday the state can do better.

19. UT president agrees with Haslam on trimming Board of Trustees -

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro favors trimming the system’s Board of Trustees and altering the executive selection process, agreeing with Gov. Bill Haslam’s efforts to streamline the governing body.

20. Opioid crisis and juvenile justice -

With the state’s budget projected to be tight and lawmakers lining up to run for re-election in 2018, the coming legislative session isn’t expected to yield many surprises.

But the 110th General Assembly still has a long row to hoe as the session starts Jan. 9 with new legislative offices and committee rooms in the renovated Cordell Hull Building in downtown Nashville.

21. Haslam considering changes to UT Board of Trustees -

Gov. Bill Haslam is considering reducing the number University of Tennessee Board of Trustees members and trimming the number of finalists presented for top leadership positions in the UT system, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has confirmed.

22. Five Nashville hotels make Condé Nast list -

Hotel Preston (No. 8), Thompson Nashville (No. 9), Hotel Indigo (No. 13), 21C Museum Hotel (No. 15) and Hutton Hotel (No. 19) are among the top 40 hotels in the South, according to Condé Nast Traveler’s 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

23. Are Achievement Schools a problem or the solution? -

Forgiveness or farewell: What should be the fate of the Achievement School District? Among Memphis legislators, it just depends.

State Rep. Mark White calls the task to pull Shelby County’s poorest performing schools out of the state’s bottom 5 percent a “heavy lift.”

24. Tennessee AG: student info must be given to charter schools -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A legal opinion by the Tennessee attorney general says school districts must give a variety of student data to approved charter schools and their operators.

In the opinion Wednesday, Attorney General Herbert Slatery writes that school districts with policies that ban releasing the information can only do so temporarily.

25. Metro launches hotline for rental complaints -

In an effort to address the negative impact some short-term rental properties have on residential neighborhoods, Mayor Megan Barry is announcing the launch of a hotline to catalog and respond to neighborhood complaints.

26. Tennessee Achievement School District chief resigning -

MEMPHIS (AP) — Tennessee officials say the head of the state-run Achievement School District is resigning.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said Wednesday that Achievement School District Superintendent Malika Anderson is stepping down at the end of the month. Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Airhart will be the interim superintendent.

27. Events -

Tennessee Center for Family Business. Launch event with guest speaker, Clifton Lambreth, former Auto executive, motivational speaker, author and consultant. Nashville Entrepreneur Center, 411 Peabody, Thursday, 7:15–9 a.m. Light breakfast served. Information and to register: TNCFBlaunch.eventbrite.com

28. State Rep. rips Achievement School District for hiring felon -

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson is renewing his call for an end to the Achievement School District amid revelations a charter school operator hired a convicted felon to run Lester Prep in Memphis.

29. Absences, fitness, atmosphere: New ways to track schools -

Absences, fitness, atmosphere _ new ways to track schools

By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — How often do students miss school? Are they ready for college? Are they physically fit? Is their school a welcoming place?

30. Singing along with tone-deaf legislators -

Often dull, but never boring. They might even make you break out into song. Halfway through the 2017 session, the General Assembly could be accused of lacking sharpness or sensibility, but what it lacks in luster it makes up for with lots of political song and dance.

31. Transgender bathroom bill postponed -

Legislation requiring public school students to use restrooms based on their sex at birth is on hold.

State Rep. Mark Pody, saying he wants to bring “common sense” and “clarity” to the matter, took his bill off notice Tuesday in a House Education subcommittee, saying policies and court decisions are changing so quickly he needs more time to amend the measure.

32. Pody moving forward with transgender bathroom bill -

Despite a reversal of federal guidelines for public school restroom use, state Rep. Mark Pody is prepared to present legislation Tuesday restricting bathroom use to a students’ sex at birth.

Pody, R-Lebanon, says he will pursue the measure despite opposition from the LGBT community and statements from at least two top state officials that it isn’t needed, based on recent federal legal guidance.

33. New Tennessee plan would give school districts more control -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee is proposing a plan that would give local school districts more control over issues such as improving poor-performing schools.

On Tuesday, state education officials released the first draft of Tennessee's version of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law President Barack Obama signed last year, The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/2hgHYdZ).

34. High school graduation rates increase in Tennessee -

NASHVILLE (AP) - The high school graduation rate in Tennessee has increased to 88.5 percent.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2es5iUT) reports that the state's high school graduation rate increased by nearly 1 percent this year compared to last year.

35. Audit: Lax financial controls at Achievement School District -

NASHVILLE (AP) — An audit has found lax internal financial controls at the Tennessee education district in charge of trying to turn around failing public schools.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/2b54Bg6) that the review by the state comptroller's Division of Audit found that Achievement School District had a lack of control over even basic internal functions.

36. Tennessee cutting testing time for students -

NASHVILLE (AP) — Education officials say changes in standardized testing in Tennessee are expected to reduce testing time for students and teachers by about 30 percent.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2a3kAh5) reports the state has cut the first part of spring standardized testing to create only one assessment window at the end of the school year.

37. Tennessee disregarded red flags with TNReady testing firm -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee officials knew of concerns about a testing company's ability to fulfill a $107.7 million contract to administer the new online TNReady standardized test even before this year's failed rollout, internal documents show.

38. State abruptly cancels contract with TNReady creator -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state of Tennessee on Wednesday abruptly terminated a $107.7 million contract with a testing company following repeated failures with the rollout of the new assessment called TNReady.

39. Tennessee standardized testing to be scaled back next year -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's top education official has announced that students will be spending less time taking standardized tests next year.

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen told news outlets over the phone on Monday that TNReady's math and English tests will be shortened. The state has not yet made a decision about the length of the social studies test or whether the tests will be online or on paper.

40. Statewide demand outstrips supply of qualified workers -

Tennessee is surging as a major manufacturing state, bouncing back from the Great Recession by attracting billions of dollars in new investment and creating thousands of new – and often very high-paying – advanced manufacturing jobs.

41. Rare wins for Democrats on guns, outsourcing -

Legislative Democrats got a chance to beat their chests a little bit after a proposal to allow guns in the state Capitol and Legislative Plaza failed, and they hope to do the same with outsourcing.

42. Haslams, Education Commissioner launch literacy campaign -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam, first lady Crissy Haslam and state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen are launching a new literacy campaign on Wednesday known as Read to be Ready.

43. Teachers wary of Haslam’s push for increased pay -

Pushing a budget with more than $100 million for K-12 teacher pay raises, Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee is taking education to new levels by raising standards, linking teacher evaluations to student performance and expanding education options.

44. Student-testing firm defends itself after computer glitches -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A student-testing company's president defended his firm Tuesday after Tennessee's education commissioner said she no longer had confidence in its ability to administer a new academic assessment test online.

45. State takes responsibility, then blames test failures on vendor -

NASHVILLE (AP) - State education officials say they take responsibility for a series of computer glitches caused by a vendor that forced students to stop using a new online assessment test known as TNReady.

46. Department of Education scraps online test after crashes -

NASHVILLE  (AP) — Tennessee education officials say they no longer have faith that a brand new education assessment test known as TNReady can be administered online after a series of computer glitches, including one Monday that forced school officials across the state to halt testing on the first day of its rollout.

47. Frist education group calls for fewer assessment tests -

NASHVILLE (AP) - An education advocacy group founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Wednesday called for fewer but smarter assessment tests and for helping minority students and the underserved bridge the achievement gap.

48. Is state takeover of troubled schools a $100M failure? -

Armed with a Vanderbilt University study showing Shelby County schools that were taken over by the state’s Achievement School District are showing little to no improvement, Memphis legislators are nearly ready to kill the experiment.

49. Haslam announces new head of Achievement School District -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Malika Anderson will be the new superintendent of Tennessee's Achievement School District.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday.

50. Report: Small to no change on Tennessee national test scores -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Two years after Tennessee proclaimed itself the fastest-improving state for education in the country, that growth has leveled off, according to a national report that concluded the state has seen little to no change in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores over the last two years.

51. Report card shows 88 percent Tennessee graduation rate -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's high school graduation rate improved to 88 percent, the third consecutive year it's increased, but students in earlier grades continue to struggle in reading, according to a state report card released Thursday.

52. Group says schools stall records request on Islam curriculum -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Christian-based advocacy group says several Tennessee school districts haven't complied with its open records request about Islam curriculum being taught in public schools.

The American Center for Law & Justice made the request to all 146 school districts and state special schools for information on what students are learning about Islam and other religions, how students are being taught and what resources teachers are using.

53. Task force: Eliminate tests for kindergarten, 1st grade -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Annual standardized exams should be eliminated for Tennessee kindergarteners and first-graders amid teacher concerns that students are being tested too much, according to a state task force.

54. Education commissioner continues effort to connect with teachers -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is continuing an effort to connect with teachers across the state.

55. Tennessee officials: New test will better measure progress -

NASHVILLE (AP) - State education officials said Thursday that new assessments in math and English for students in grades three through 11 will provide a better measurement of their progress and make sure they're on track to succeed after graduation.

56. Test score results show gains in all high school subjects -

NASHVILLE (AP) - State education officials say they're taking steps to address reading test scores that have remained relatively flat in early grade levels over the past five years.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced results of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program at a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday.

57. Test score results show gains in all high school subjects -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Results from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program show students made significant gains in all high school subjects and in the majority of subjects in grades 3 through 8.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the results at a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday.

58. Baker Storey McDonald adds industry veteran -

Commercial real estate veteran Tom Frye, who spent the last 14 years as managing director of CBRE before retiring last year, has joined Baker Storey McDonald Properties, Inc.

Baker Storey McDonald focuses in retail and restaurants. Clients include Pier One, Old Navy, and Michaels, and grocery chain Sprouts. Frye’s focus will be uncovering development opportunities as well as urban retail; capitalizing on the ground floor spaces available in many of the new office and apartment buildings.

59. Will $400K, more review improve on Common Core -

Is it Kabuki theatre or a transformative process? That question comes to mind in the aftermath of the legislative session as the General Assembly passed a bill “repealing and replacing” Common Core, a set of K-12 education standards, by adding another layer of review and pushing the governor’s process for completion to 2017, along with adding a $400,000 expense.

60. Will Tennessee Republicans ever be truly happy? -

Why aren’t Tennessee Republicans happier? With the GOP so dominant in the Tennessee General Assembly and losses so rare – on the Hill or in elections – the party’s lawmakers should be jubilant with this year’s session. But it’s never enough.

61. Last-ditch legislative effort fails to save virtual school -

NASHVILLE (AP) - A last-minute legislative maneuver to allow a troubled virtual school to remain open has failed.

The Tennessee Virtual Academy has been ordered closed because of failing scores. Republican Sen. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains asked the full Senate floor to consider an amendment to an unrelated bill that would allow the school to stay open if it showed enough improvement.

62. Judge won't order troubled virtual school to stay open -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A judge on Wednesday refused to issue a temporary injunction that would allow a troubled virtual school to remain open.

The ruling by Senior Judge Ben Cantrell is the latest setback for the Tennessee Virtual Academy, a contentious online school that has been ordered to close because of poor academic scores.

63. Families sue to keep Tennessee Virtual Academy open -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Lawyers representing the families of three children who attend a struggling online school pleaded with a judge in a Nashville courtroom Tuesday to keep it open.

Attorneys for the families argued that state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen should never have ordered the Tennessee Virtual Academy to be closed at the end of the current school year.

64. Haslam to meet with urban districts about school funding -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam met with representatives of the school districts in Tennessee's four largest cities to discuss their grievances about state funding and told them that he's working on short-term and long-term plans to address their concerns.

65. Tennessee education chief stresses teachers are 'valued' -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has a message for the state's teachers: You're valued.

66. Parents, grandparents, sue Tennessee to keep virtual school open -

NASHVILLE (AP) — A parent and grandparents of three children who go to an online school that has been ordered closed because of low academic performance are suing Tennessee's education commissioner to keep it open.

67. Greene schools superintendent joins Education Department -

NASHVILLE (AP) — The superintendent of Greene County schools is joining the Tennessee Department of Education as its chief academic officer and one of three deputy commissioners.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen named Vicki Kirk to the position this week.

68. Haslam names Lipscomb's McQueen new education commissioner -

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday named a top education official at Lipscomb University to be the next Education Department commissioner.

The Republican governor announced Wednesday that Candice McQueen will replace Kevin Huffman, who was heavily criticized during an overhaul of the state's education system. He announced last month that he was leaving for the private sector.