- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The state of Tennessee is planning to give schools a grade of A to F in hopes of making them more accountable.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/2j9s0jh ) reports that school officials discussed the new approach Tuesday night at Orchard Knob Elementary School. The meeting was the state’s sixth and final community meeting to discuss its new education plan as part of the national Every Student Succeeds Act.

“We’ve got to do a better job of setting our students up for success on these pathways that lead to success and workforce readiness,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said.

Nakia Towns, the state’s assistant commissioner of data and research, said academic progress will be factored in the grade, making it easier for all schools to have a chance to receive an A, including those in impoverished areas.

“All schools have an opportunity to earn an A,” Towns said. “Poverty is not destiny.”

Currently, about 13 percent of the state’s schools could earn an A for raw student achievement scores, and 11 percent of schools could earn the grade for academic growth. About 7 percent of schools currently accomplish both, she said.

Chronic absentee rates will also be used as a non-academic accountability measure.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act replaces the embattled No Child Left Behind legislation and requires each state to develop its own plan for education.

People are still able to give feedback on the education plan through the end of the month by visiting the state’s website.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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