- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015
Tennessee officials: New test will better measure progress

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State education officials said Thursday that new assessments in math and English for students in grades three through 11 will provide a better measurement of their progress and make sure they’re on track to succeed after graduation.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen and members of her staff met with reporters to discuss TNReady, which is part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.

TCAP includes achievement tests and end-of-course exams for science, social students, math and English.

Officials said the new test in math and English is designed to “assess true student understanding,” not just memorization and test-taking skills.

McQueen noted that 64 percent of first-time Tennessee freshmen have to take remedial coursework at community colleges.

“We know that more of our students need to be ready,” she said. “TNReady … is about readiness to ensure that we don’t have a gap in what students are leaving with with their high school diploma, and what they’re then entering into once they leave K-12.”


Former top Haslam adviser lands $120K state museum contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s former chief of staff, Mark Cate, will earn $120,000 per year as a “project coordinator” developing the new Tennessee State Museum to be built near the state Capitol.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1PCkTtM) obtained details of the contract through a public records request despite a “confidentiality clause” inserted into the document.

“He will oversee the entire project,” said Bobby Thomas, a Nashville attorney who is chairman of the Tennessee State Museum Foundation. “Mark Cate knows all the players extremely well, and I think he will be an excellent person to coordinate the effort.”

Cate, a former campaign manager for Haslam, stepped down from the governor’s Cabinet on Aug. 1. The contract is between Cate’s new consulting firm called the Stones River Group LLC and the Tennessee State Museum Foundation, which oversees fundraising efforts.

Cate’s consulting group will continue to serve clients other than the museum, though he declined to name any of them. His role will be to coordinate between the foundation, its fundraisers and a separate board that oversees general museum operations.

“I think this is a project where I am uniquely qualified,” Cate told the newspaper.


Nashville hotel cancels reservations for supremacist group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville hotel has canceled reservations for a white supremacist organization this weekend.

Guesthouse Inn director of sales Michelle Jameson told The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1K9g2Qhhttps://tnne.ws/1K9g2Qh ) the hotel made the decision three days ago after learning about the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Council board member Brad Griffin said the organization told its members not to go to Nashville this weekend. He said about 100 people had been expected for the event.

A manifesto purportedly written by Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting suspect Dylann Roof said he learned about black-on-white crime from the Council on Conservative Citizens’ website.

Griffin said no one he knows has heard of Roof, who Griffin said is responsible for his own actions.

Jameson said she made the decision with the hotel owner to cancel the reservations and had received many calls complaining about the event.


Plan to dump megasite wastewater in Hatchie River withdrawn

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A plan to dump millions of gallons of treated wastewater from the Memphis Regional Megasite into the Hatchie River has been withdrawn after a public outcry.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said Thursday that officials don’t believe the wastewater discharge would have hurt the river, but they realized the planned water treatment plant was oversized.

WNWS-FM reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1NlXSgm) that the Brownsville Energy Authority had withdrawn its application to handle the wastewater after Economic and Community Development officials said they were looking at alternatives.

Boyd declined to say exactly what those alternatives are, but he said they are more efficient, less expensive, more flexible and environmentally friendly.

“I’m pretty confident all the stakeholders are going to be very happy,” he said.

The Tennessee Clean Water Network praised the move. In a Thursday news release, director Renee Hoyos said the Hatchie is “a State Scenic River and Exceptional Tennessee Water that can’t tolerate any increase in pollution from a direct discharge.”

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