The Chalk Board: February 1, 2016

By Sally Absher

Harrison Construction Gifts Holston Middle School

Last Friday Harrison Construction hosted a special assembly from seventh grade students at Holston Middle School to announce a $15,201 grant to the school.

The grant was given with the intent that a group of seventh grade students be given an incredible opportunity to further their knowledge, appreciation and love of science and math. Employees from Harrison Construction, School Board Member Gloria Deathridge (District 1), and teachers from Holston Middle School were on hand during the assembly to introduce the grant and explain the process students will go through to have a chance to secure such an exciting opportunity.

During the spring semester, the seventh graders will undergo three interdisciplinary challenges. At the completion of each challenge, teachers will determine which students move on to compete in the next challenge. On Friday, April 1, at 10:30 a.m., at the end of the final challenge, sixteen students will be showcased during a celebratory assembly and the “opportunity of a lifetime” will be revealed to them.

 

Knox County Political Action Committee for Education to Host Candidate Meet and Greet

KC-PACE will host a Meet and Greet next week for their endorsed candidates in the upcoming March 1 Primary election.  The event will take place at Buddy’s Banquet Hall in Bearden on Tuesday, February 9, from 6-8 p.m. All teachers are invited to attend.

 

Rising Graduation Rates Do Not Mean Students Prepared for College

Despite glowing reports from the TN Department of Education website touting Tennessee’s improved graduation rate (2014 state average of 87.8%), a recent report from the State Comptroller’s office raises concern about how ready those students are for college.

While the state has lowered the number of freshmen in public colleges requiring remedial courses, large numbers of high school graduates still arrive unprepared for college level work. Using the ACT college and career benchmark criteria to assess academic readiness for post-secondary education, in 2014 75% of the state’s community college freshmen, 48% of freshmen at six Board of Regents universities, and 28% of students at the three UT campuses did not meet college criteria for readiness in math, reading, and/or writing.

Among four year public universities, 18% of UTK freshmen failed to meet college-readiness criteria, the lowest percentage in the state, while Tennessee State University had the highest percentage of unprepared freshmen at 82%.

Of the state’s community colleges, Pellissippi State Community College had the lowest percentage (65%) of freshmen failing to meet readiness guidelines, and Southwest Tennessee had the highest percentage with 90% of students not meeting readiness guidelines.

This should not be surprising to anyone who has researched Common Core, the “more rigorous” standards adopted by the state in 2010. The authors of the standards admit that the standards are designed only to “prepare students for admission to a non-selective two year community college.” Your student is not being prepared for admission to a selective four year college or university. The statistics will continue to worsen as students who have learned under common core standards for more and more of their K-12 years begin post-secondary education.

This is why Tennessee now offers “free K-14 education.” Grades 13 and 14 are offered “free” (at tax-payer expense) via the community college system.

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