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Tenn. Board of Education considers streamlined teacher licensing

The Tennessee Board of Education passed, on first reading, a revamped teacher licensure policy that offers high-performing teachers a fast pass to teacher licensure and renewal.

The policy reflects laws passed this legislative session in the General Assembly. One of the new laws prohibit the use of student test scores in the decision to renew or revoke teachers’ licenses. The other grants the ability to petition commissioner Kevin Huffman to waive some requirements for renewal of the teacher’s license to teachers who earn the “significantly above expectations” designation on three consecutive teacher evaluations. The teacher evaluations are a part of the state’s Tennessee Evaluation Assessment Model or “TEAM.”

The new licensing policy reflects the new laws and allows more possibilities for “professional learning credits,” which teachers need to earn or renew their licenses. Professional learning credits include national board certification, a credential based on a rigorous process, and taking college or graduate courses.

The board also approved a policy that limits schools to serving non-federally sanctioned foods only 30 days a year. This will allow clubs and sports teams to hold fundraisers like bake sales, even if the items are considered unhealthy by federal standards. The policy is an extension of a federal nutrition program heavily promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The next state board of education meeting is on Tuesday, July 25.

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