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McQueen Announces Task Force on Student Testing, Assessment

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; March 2, 2015:

NASHVILLE — Education Commissioner Candice McQueen today announced the formation of a special Tennessee Task Force on Student Testing and Assessment to study and identify best practices in testing at the school level and how those assessments align with required state tests.

“We have heard some concerns that there is ‘too much testing’ taking place. So as education leaders and stakeholders, it’s important that we clearly understand current testing policies and practices at both the state and local levels,” McQueen said. “Proper assessment tools are vital in making sure we are supporting our schools, teachers, parents, and students with clear information about what students are learning and mastering. We want to highlight those districts that are finding the right approach and balance on this important topic, and to identify any areas for discussion and improvement.”

The new task force includes a broad spectrum of education leaders, teachers, and stakeholders. The first meeting of the task force will convene in late March, and will focus on the results of a district assessment survey.

“Assessments can be powerful tools in ensuring the work we’re doing in education is effective and that we are gaining a return on our taxpayer investments,” Senate Education Committee Chairman and task force member Dolores Gresham said. “I’m excited to be a part of this important work.”

The task force will issue a report on its findings this summer.

The task force will include the following members:

  • Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education
  • Sara Heyburn, Executive Director, State Board of Education
  • Dolores Gresham, Chairman, Senate Education Committee
  • John Forgety, Chairman, House Education Committee
  • Harry Brooks, Chairman, House Education Committee
  • Mike Winstead, Director of Schools, Maryville City
  • Wanda Shelton, Director of Schools, Lincoln County
  • Mary Reel, Director of Schools, Milan Special Schools
  • Nancy Ashe, Assistant Director of Schools, Lebanon Special Schools
  • Beth Unfried, Director of Elementary Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
  • Sharon McNary, Principal, Richland Elementary, Shelby County Schools
  • Philip Eller, Teacher, Cedar Grove Elementary, Rutherford County Schools
  • Becky McBride, Teacher, Brighton High, Tipton County School
  • Valerie Love, Teacher, Dobyns-Bennett High, Kingsport City Schools
  • Susan Lodal, President, Tennessee School Boards Association
  • Jasmine Carlisle, 11TH-grade Student, Mt. Juliet High, Wilson County Schools
  • Virginia Babb, Member, Knox County Parent-Teacher Association

Ex officio members

  • Kathleen Airhart, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education
  • Stephen Smith, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education
  • Emily Freitag, Assistant Commissioner, Curriculum and Instruction, Tennessee Department of
  • EducationNakia Towns, Assistant Commissioner, Data and Research, Tennessee Department of Education
  • Eva Boster, Teacher Ambassador, Tennessee Department of Education
  • Alyssa Van Camp, Director of Policy, State Collaborative on Reforming Education
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Press Releases

Haslam Named Co-chair of Nat’l Governor’s Assoc. Health Care Task Force

Press release from the National Governor’s Association; May 21, 2013:

WASHINGTON—As lawmakers at both state and federal levels of government look for ways to improve the quality of health care and reduce the costs of public programs, governors are developing innovative Medicaid programs and must retain flexibility to implement these measures.

To assist in these efforts, the National Governors Association (NGA) today announced the members of a new Health Care Sustainability Task Force (Task Force). Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will serve as co-chairs of the Task Force.

Other governors serving include Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, California Gov. Jerry Brown, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. NGA Health and Homeland Security Chair Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vice Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will serve as ex-officio members.

“Right now states are looking to change how they do business in order to more effectively serve their constituents,” said Gov. Kitzhaber. “This Task Force will help states sit down together to figure out what’s working and what isn’t and identify how the federal government can best support these efforts.”

“Governors are working in their states to find ways to cut costs when it comes to health care,” said Gov. Haslam. “It is our responsibility to examine every possible option in an effort to make sure promising new initiatives can be fully utilized.”

The Task Force will focus on state innovations that require the redesign of health care delivery and payment systems with the objectives of improving quality and controlling costs. Through the sharing of state experiences and best practices, the Task Force will work to identify areas where federal legislative or regulatory action is necessary to reduce barriers and further support state initiatives.