November 22, 2011

Tennessee education commissioner encourages increase in competition

Commissioner Kevin Huffman
Commissioner Kevin Huffman should start by seeking an amendment to the state's charter school law which currently prohibits private for-profit charter management organizations from operating schools in Tennessee.  Seeking to reform public education without the private sector is like choosing to get into a UFC cage fight with one hand tied behind the back.  It's a recipe for a bad outcome.  Instead of excluding private sector ideas and innovations, Tennessee should instead welcome any proven education provider, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, that is willing to engage in the hard work of closing achievement gaps.

Tennessee's education commissioner wants the state's lowest-performing schools to start using competition as a means for improvement. Targeting the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools is a crucial component to the state's application asking for reprieve from the federal No Child Left Behind law, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said Monday said during an editorial board meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If the wavier is approved, the state will encourage creativity and competition among the lowest-performing schools, Huffman said. All sorts of reform efforts are on the table for these schools, he said, including differentiated teacher pay scales and lengthening the school year or school day. Read more.


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