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TCSC Celebrates Successful Legislative Session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Charter School Center worked during the 2021 session of the One Hundred Twelfth General Assembly to support legislation focused on high-quality and equitable education for all Tennessee students. The legislation supported by the Tennessee Charter School Center addresses challenges with the teacher pipeline, provides financial and operational support for public charter schools, and provides investments in students which will lead to greater equity and stronger outcomes for students in Tennessee.

In addition to supporting the passage of key education legislation, the Tennessee Charter School Center was able to help protect the policy landscape for public charter schools and the foundation of assessment and accountability in Tennessee.

“After a tumultuous year, we knew there were many important needs to address during this legislative session, even with all that was accomplished during special session,” said Elizabeth Fiveash, the Chief Policy Officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center. “We focused our efforts on legislation that would ensure students and teachers would continue to be a priority post-pandemic.”

In addition to its legislative successes, the Tennessee Charter School Center recently released its 2021 Impact Report sharing success stories from its schools across the state. You can read more on the TCSC website here.

Among other legislative initiatives, the Tennessee Charter School Center worked this year to support:

  • Charter School Facilities Funding: $24 million in public charter school facilities funding was approved. $6 million will be recurring with $18 million being non-recurring funding.
  • Achievement School District Transition: This bill clarifies exit criteria and pathways for schools in the Achievement School District and provides certain public charter schools in the ASD the ability to seek approval directly from the Charter Commission.
  • Mental Health Trust Fund: $250 million in available funds will be used to develop and provide mental health services for K-12 students in Tennessee in traditional and public charter schools.
  • Teacher Licensure: Revises various provisions regarding initial educator licensure, advancement, and renewal. This includes requiring the State Board of Education, when issuing an educator license to an out-of-state educator, to issue a license that is equivalent to the license the educator possesses in another state.  
  • Charter School Insurance: Entitles all public charter schools to participate in the state group insurance plans selected by the governing body of the public charter school.

“We’re thankful to have been able to aid in the passage of important legislation,” said Dr. Maya Bugg, CEO of the Tennessee Charter School Center. “These provisions will have a direct impact on the success of students and staff throughout the state.”

ABOUT THE TENNESSEE CHARTER SCHOOL CENTER

As the state's primary charter school support organization, the Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) is committed to developing and supporting the more than 100 public charter schools that exist across four major cities in Tennessee — Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. TCSC works to ensure that more than 44,000 public charter school students across the state have access to an excellent, equitable education that meets or exceeds statewide academic standards. Learn more at www.tnchartercenter.org

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