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Subpar Tennessee raises bar for public schools

Staff Report • Aug 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to a report in the Tennessean, attempts to drastically transform the state's poorly performing public schools begins this year with a new curriculum, new tests and a new list of textbooks.Tennessee is doing it all at once instead of a slow build up as is being done in other states. Nearly every teacher had to be retrained, and the state had to rush to approve textbooks that contain the new skill sets. The goal is to put Tennessee's schools, regarded as some of the easiest in the nation, on par with top-performing states like Massachusetts and progressing states like North Carolina. Introducing the new standards is a crucial first step toward improvement, according to experts, but now the question is whether the state can implement the massive changes correctly.The key will be working out the kinks along the way, and it could be years before the state begins to see progress, said Gary Nixon, executive director of the Tennessee Board of Education.Under the old system, sixth-graders learned basic math and double-digit multiplication. Now, they'll get an introduction to algebra. Science experiments didn't start until third grade, but now they'll begin in kindergarten. CLICK HERE for the full report.

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