Tennessee Education Department announces evaluation plan

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new plan released by the Tennessee Department of Education will make schools more accountable and give parents a better idea of how to evaluate their neighborhood schools.

Under the new plan released Tuesday, every public school in the state will get a letter grade from A to F, making it easier for parents to evaluate how their local schools are doing.

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said the new grading system will make schools more transparent and give parents much better information about how their neighborhood schools are operating.

Last year the Legislature passed a bill that called for schools to be given letter grades. But the new state education plan goes even further. The schools’ grades will take into account things like how English language learners are doing and whether disabled students are being served in the local school. The schools will also be graded on whether there is chronic absenteeism, if students are ready for college or the military and whether traditionally underserved students are performing well.

The plan is Tennessee’s way of complying with a federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. The bipartisan law, which was sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, is meant to hold schools accountable for student performance.

Parents will be able to see how their local schools got graded under the new measurements starting in fall 2018.