Testing and funding can easily be identified as the two biggest issues impacting public education in Tennessee.
TEA has embarked on a two-year campaign to address these two issues and accomplish our 20/20 Vision: Eliminate high stakes decisions based on standardized tests that affect Tennessee’s educators, students and schools by the year 2020; and increase Tennessee’s investment per student to the Southeastern average by the year 2020, with the ultimate goal of reaching the national average.
“We are in the home stretch of working toward these goals set by the TEA Board of Directors in 2015,” said TEA President Beth Brown. “I am challenging all supporters of public education - not just TEA members - to work with us over the next two years to achieve this 20/20 Vision.”
Educators, parents and community members are encouraged to visit the TEA website to say “I’m in!” and indicate the actions in which they are willing to participate.
The term "Big Hairy Audacious Goal," or BHAG, might be new to you, but it is something that has been guiding the work of our association for the past three years. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal is defined as a strategic statement which is created to focus an organization on a medium-long term goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.
The TEA Board of Directors voted in 2015 to adopt two BHAGs:
- Eliminate high stakes decisions based on standardized tests that affect Tennessee’s educators, students and schools by the year 2020, and
- Increase Tennessee’s investment per student to the Southeastern average by the year 2020, with the ultimate goal of reaching the national average.
In the three years since the BHAGs were adopted, the association has made important progress toward accomplishing our goals. In testing, TEA’s advocacy has resulted in a test transparency law (though we are still waiting for the state to properly implement it), a reduction in testing for students, a reduction of the weight test scores carry in teacher evaluations, a law prohibiting the use of TVAAS in teacher licensure decisions and a number of hold harmless laws as needed when the test failed year after year.
In funding, the state has made unprecedented investments in public education funding, including teacher salaries. Of course, as you are reminded each time you look at your paystub, the increases allocated by legislators in Nashville aren’t really showing up in teacher paychecks.
We are now two years from our BHAG’s 2020 deadline. It is possible we could realize both of these goals by the deadline if more TEA members get engaged, involved and ready to focus with 20/20 Vision!