Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


The role of the State Board of Education

Like any complex system, many people making many decisions got us here.  Much confusion results from the lack of understanding of the overlapping roles of the General Assembly and the SBE.  Many legislators are confused about what happens to education policy once their votes are taken, and most have been satisfied allowing the SBE to work out the policy details. 

Members of the SBE are appointed by the governor for five-year terms and may be reappointed.  While one SBE member must be a K-12 teacher at the time of appointment, all others are generally non-educators.  While SBE members never have to face election, each state board member has a constituency based on his/her Congressional district.  Educator contact with the SBE must be part of the solution.  TEA members need to educate policymakers—SBE members as well as legislators—and hold them accountable. 

TEA's State Board Contact Team also plays a crucial role in TEA's efforts to influence the actions of the SBE.  Contact team members are all educators who communicate directly with SBE members on a regular basis and attend SBE meetings when critical issues are under consideration.  They work closely with TEA’s Instruction and Professional Development staff, who research and monitor proposed policies.

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