MISSION Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) is rooted in fighting for strong, equitable public education and is committed to growing child-centered education policy.
CORE VALUES The following are the core values that will guide the advocacy efforts of Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE.) These are the principles to which we adhere, and which we will seek to advance in Tennessee’s educational policies.
We believe Tennessee must make high quality investments that reach all students by:
- Fully funding BEP 2.0 (Basic Education Program 2.0), the funding formula set by the legislature to fund Tennessee schools. Since the adoption of BEP 2.0 in 2007, Tennessee schools have not received the full amount of funding which the law requires.
- Reducing spending on standardized tests and redirecting those funds to classrooms.
- Developing compensation, evaluation, and support plans for teachers that make Tennessee a top destination for professional educators.
- Providing the student services and support needed for students to achieve.
- Providing all students with the arts, physical education, music, and learning opportunities that are essential to a quality educational experience.
- Refusing to divert scarce taxpayer dollars away from already underfunded public schools into a bailout program for struggling private schools via vouchers.
- Ensuring manageable class sizes.
- Supporting career-path success for students not college bound.
- Funding universal, voluntary public pre-kindergarten programs.
Transparency & Accountability
We believe Tennessee must ensure transparency and accountability by:
- Requiring all taxpayer funded schools and entities, including the state Department of Education and related offices to make public all their funding sources, budgets, and expenditures, so that the taxpayers have a clear understanding of:
- how public dollars are being spent,
- what influence private donors/interests may have on publicly funded institutions,
- the true per pupil cost of services being provided.
- Examining whether Tennessee’s school accountability systems are based on appropriate and reliable data.
- Providing a full accounting of the determination of achievement test proficiency cut scores and value-added scores, so that citizens and parents know how accurate those data are.
- Requiring all schools to provide parents with information regarding standardized testing, including what tests are given, when the testing occurs, the purpose of such tests, and the costs associated with the tests.
- Informing parents of what educational and personal data are being shared with third party corporations.
We believe Tennessee should keep decisions regarding local public schools in the hands of local citizens by:
- Allowing each community to determine whether and where to open schools funded by its local property tax money.
- Keeping public schools accountable to local voters, rather than remote, unelected/unaccountable state-level bureaucrats.
- Ensuring that Tennessean communities, not corporate out-of-state special interest groups, direct Tennessee children’s educations.
- Limiting top-down, underfunded, and untested mandates.
- Ensuring that parents and teachers have meaningful input into education decision making.
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