Poll Says Education is on Tennessee’s Mind, Sees Rise in Expectations

Tennessee’s governor’s race is off and running and to some degree, education is on everyone’s mind according to a recent poll conducted by State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). The state advocacy organization’s findings tell us that both Democrats and Republicans are satisfied with outgoing Governor Haslam’s (R) education policies. In contrast, both parties in the deep red state are less optimistic about our state’s progress with educating its smallest citizens.

Still, it’s refreshing to know Tennesseans hold high expectations for our schools and are on board with the current upward trajectory set a decade ago by Democratic governor Phil Bredesen. I agree with SCORE CEO David Mansouri’s assessment:

“As we move into an important election cycle, this poll shows us that Tennessee voters continue to support the innovations that have been introduced to help students learn at higher levels.”

But, Third Place?

Even with rising expectations, education in Tennessee does not rank as a top priority. Yep, the 42nd ranked state in education (according to Wallethub) thinks education is the third most important issue in our state. Imma let that digest for a moment.


Maybe Tennesseans need another crash course on TNReady high school End-of-Course scores released just last week. Click on the link for the crash course. 

In a nutshell, the state department of education released a very charming chart highlighting growth across all content areas. The kicker: the chart represents less than one-quarter of the state’s public school students, spotlighting the highest performers.

“What’s not shown in this graph are the 78.5% of students who are scoring in Levels 1 (Below) and 2 (Approaching).

The percentage of students underperforming across the board is staggering: 

  • English 66.6%
  • Math 78.5%
  • Science 49%
  • U.S. History 70.1%”

Any Tennessean armed with this information would be all too eager to make education job #1.

Get more information about the SCORE survey in this Chalkbeat article.

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