114 School District Leaders Ask General Assembly to Oppose Standards Legislation


The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) today released a letter to all members of the General Assembly signed by 114 Tennessee superintendents and school district directors who are asking lawmakers not to change the state’s academic standards during this legislative session.

The leaders who signed the letter represent school districts that are educating more than 850,000 students, or nearly 86 percent of public school students in Tennessee. The letter points out that in the past seven years Tennessee’s K- 12 education system has undergone significant changes that have led to unprecedented progress in the quality of education that students receive. Another major change will occur in the spring of 2016, when TNready, a new statewide assessment aligned to Tennessee’s State Standards, is introduced.

“This work is paying off,” said TOSS Board Chairman Randy Frazier, Director of Weakley County Schools. “Tennessee has received national attention for historic gains in student achievement. That’s why we say to the General Assembly, please do not derail this momentum. We are asking the members to make no adjustments to Tennessee’s State Standards before we have the results of the public review process set up by the Governor and the State Board of Education. We also are asking that the implementation of TNready be allowed to proceed with no delays.”

The public review process allows Tennessee residents to review each standard for math and English language arts, to recommend whether the standard should be retained or changed, and to explain why.

“There has been unprecedented participation in the review process, especially by Tennessee teachers,” the TOSS letter says. “We ask that their input be valued and that we move forward with efforts to improve and enhance our current standards and truly make them our own, while also giving educators and students the stability they desire and deserve.”

“The superintendents who signed these letters believe the input from those closest to the classroom should be valued and more of it should be gathered through the online review,” Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie said. “We also believe that our teachers, principals, and students deserve some much-needed stability. For those reasons, we urge the General Assembly to allow the review to continue and to refrain from passing legislation this year that disrupts standards or assessment.”

TOSS represents the state’s superintendents and directors of schools and is the leading advocate organization for public education in the state of Tennessee. The TOSS mission encompasses advancing public education, promoting the work and interest of the superintendency, gathering and circulating information on general school matters, and providing pertinent information on sound education legislation to the General Assembly. TOSS also proposes and analyzes legislation that impacts local school systems.

These school district leaders signed the letter to the General Assembly:

Brian Bell, Alcoa City Schools Larry Foster, Anderson County Schools Robert Greene, Athens City Schools Don Embry, Bedford County Schools Mark Florence,Benton County Schools Jennifer Terry, Bledsoe County Schools Rob Britt, Blount County Schools Dan Black, Bradford Special District Gary Lilly, Bristol City Schools Barbara Parker, Cannon County Schools Johnny McAdams, Carroll County Schools Kevin Ward, Carter County Schools Stan Curtis, Cheatham County Schools Troy Kilzer, Chester County Schools Connie Holdway, Claiborne County Schools B.J. Worthington, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools Jerry Strong, Clay County Schools Martin Ringstaff, Cleveland City Schools Vicki Violette, Clinton City Schools Manney Moore, Cocke County Schools LaDonna McFall, Coffee County Schools Robert Mullins, Crockett County Schools Donald Andrews, Cumberland County Schools Mike Latham, Dayton City Schools Mark Willoughby, DeKalb County Schools Danny Weeks, Dickson County Schools Dwight L. Hedge, Dyer County Schools Neel Durbin, Dyersburg City Schools Cory Gardenhour, Elizabethton City Schools James Teague, Fayette County Schools Janine Wilson, Fayetteville City Schools Mike Jones, Fentress County Schools Rebecca Sharber, Franklin County Schools David L. Snowden, Franklin Special School District Eddie Pruett, Gibson County Special District J.B. Smith, Giles County Schools Edwin Jarnagin, Grainger County Schools Vicki Kirk, Greene County Schools Linda Stroud, Greeneville City Schools David Dickerson, Grundy County Schools Dale P. Lynch, Hamblen County Schools Rick Smith, Hamilton County Schools Troy Seal, Hancock County Schools WarnerRoss, Hardeman County Schools Michael Davis, Hardin County Schools Steve Starnes, Hawkins County Schools Teresa Russell, Haywood County Schools Steve Wilkinson, Henderson County Schools Sam Miles, Henry County Schools Jerry W. Nash, Hickman County Schools Cathy Harvey, Houston County Schools Versie Ray Hamlett, Humboldt City Schools James L. (Jimmy) Long, Humphreys County Schools Pat Dillahunty, Huntingdon Special District Joe Barlow, Jackson County Schools Verna Ruffin, Jackson-Madison Co. Schools Charles Edmonds, Jefferson County Schools Mischelle Simcox, Johnson County Schools Lyle Ailshie, Kingsport City Schools James McIntyre, Knox County Schools Sherry Darnell, Lake County Schools Shawn Kimble, Lauderdale County Schools Bill Heath, Lawrence County Schools Scott Benson, Lebanon Special District Jeanne Barker, Lenoir City Schools Susan Bunch, Lexington City Schools Wanda Shelton, Lincoln County Schools Jason Vance, Loudon County Schools Mark Griffith, Marion County Schools Mike Winstead, Maryville City Schools Edward (Eddie) Hickman, Maury County Schools Lynn Watkins, McKenzie Special District Mickey Blevins, McMinn County Schools John Prince, McNairy County Schools Don Roberts, Meigs County Schools Jesse Register, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Mary Reel, Milan Special School District Tim Blankenship, Monroe County Schools Chad Moorehead, Moore County Schools Edd Diden, Morgan County Schools Linda Arms Gilbert, Murfreesboro City Schools Steve Thompson, Newport City Schools Bruce Borchers, Oak Ridge City Schools Russ Davis, Obion County Schools Ann Sexton, Oneida Special School District Mike Brown, Paris Special School District Eric Lomax, Perry County Schools Diane Elder, Pickett County Schools Jerry Boyd, Putnam County Schools Jerry Levengood, Rhea County Schools Cindy Blevins, Richard City Special DistrictGary Aytes, Roane County Schools Mike Davis, Robertson County Schools Rebecca C. Isaacs, Rogersville City Schools Don Odom, Rutherford County Schools Bill Hall, Scott County Schools Johnny G. Cordell, Sequatchie County Schools Jack A. (Jackie) Parton, Sevier County Schools Dorsey Hopson, Shelby Unified County Schools Tony Tucker, South Carroll Special District Jubal Yennie, Sullivan County Schools Beth Litz, Sweetwater City Schools Sandra Harper,Trenton Special School District Clint Satterfield, Trousdale County Schools Denise H. Brown, Unicoi County Schools Jimmy Carter, Union County Schools Cheryl Cole, Van Buren County Schools John R. (Bobby) Cox, Warren County Schools Ron Dykes, Washington County Schools Gailand Grinder, Wayne County Schools Randy Frazier, Weakley County Schools Eric D. Williams, West Carroll Special District Sandra Crouch,White County Schools Donna Wright, Wilson County Schools

Source: Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents