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Happenings at the Tennessee Legislature

A bill has been filed to close poor performing for-profit virtual schools

John Tidwell, Tennessee State Representative for District 74

Tennessee State Representative - District 74Nashville, TN – The day after a news story by News Channel 5’s Phil Williams broke alleging a potential grade-fixing scheme by the K12, Inc. operated Tennessee Virtual Academy, the House Education Subcommittee heard legislation that would limit or abolish this underperforming and highly controversial experiment.

Passed in 2011 despite overwhelming evidence of poor performance nationwide, the Tennessee Virtual Schools Act allowed the for-profit Virginia based firm K12, Inc. to begin operating in our state. Since then, the Tennessee Virtual Academy has achieved the lowest scores possible (1 out of a potential 5) in all categories of the state’s TVAAS grading system.

HB728, a bill to repeal the portion of the 2011 that allowed for K12, Inc. to set up shop in Tennessee. K12, Inc. has failed taxpayers and students, questioning the millions in compensation their CEO has received, and asking them to produce a detailed explanation of costs associated with the program.

Despite serious concerns, the Education Subcommittee voted not to move the legislation forward to full committee. The administration has introduced a bill that would give the Commissioner of Education authority to close or cap enrollment for a virtual school if it continues to under perform, but it was weakened in committee to remove the 5,000 total cap that was in the original legislation.

Tennessee Forests are in Great Shape

John Tidwell, Tennessee State Representative for District 74
John Tidwell

Tennessee State Forest Commission Chairman John Ross gave a presentation this week to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on the state of Tennessee’s forests. While Chairman Ross noted that Tennessee still faces threats from invasive species, he reported that our state now has a 2-1 rate of hardwood growth to cutting.

In 2000, Tennessee State Representative John Tidwell offered legislation that enabled the state to issue stop work orders against loggers found in violation of forestry best practices which Chairman Ross attributed to the fact that Tennessee now grows more timber than it harvests.

This focus on protecting our natural resources has led to a brighter and more stable future for Tennessee forests, which will both preserve the natural beauty of Tennessee and keep our state competitive in the hardwood industry for decades to come.


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