TENNESSEE’S EDUCATION COMMISSIONER SAYS SHE IS COMMITTED TO LEARNING FROM PREVIOUS MISTAKES WITH STANDARDIZED “T-N READY” TESTING — THAT RESULTED IN YEARS OF MAJOR DISRPUTIONS FOR SCHOOL SYSTEMS. EDUCATION COMMISSIONER PENNY SCHWINN TRAVELED TO THE TRI-CITIES TODAY…WHERE SHE TOLD BLAKE LIPTON … TRANSPARENCY WILL CREATE MORE IMPROVEMENTS IN T-N READY TESTING. THAT’S RIGHT JOSH AND SARA… WE CAUGHT UP WITH DR. SCHWINN AT SCIENCE HILL HIGH SCHOOL TODAY… SHE UNVEILED NEW DETAILS ABOUT THE STATE’S STANDARDIZED TESTING MODEL GOING FORWARD– SHE ALSO MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE STUDENTS COME FIRST. “AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE ARE CHILDREN’S FIRST EVERYTIME NO MATTER WHAT, AND THAT IS A COMMITMENT YOU HAVE FROM ME DIRECTLY.” TENNESSEE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER, DR. PENNY SCHWIN, TOURING SCIENCE HILL HIGH SCHOOL TODAY… MEETING WITH STUDENTS AND FACULTY IN WHAT SHE CALLED AN ‘INCREDIBLE VISIT.’ “WHEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT EXCELLENT CTE IN THIS STATE, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THIS HIGH SCHOOL.” DR. SCHWINN TELLING US THURSDAY THAT THE STATE IS EXPECTED TO HAVE A NEW CONTRACT WITH ITS TN READY VENDOR BY THE END OF JUNE. THE COMMISSIONER ALSO SAID SHE’S EXCITED FOR MORE TRANSPARENT AND EARLIER REPORTING, AS WELL AS PUBLICLY POSTING ALL OF THE TESTING QUESTIONS WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS… “IF I’M A PARENT AND MY DAUGHTERS COMING HOME WITH HER REPORT IN TWO YEARS WHEN SHE’S ENDING THIRD GRADE, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT ANSWERS SHE TOOK, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HER ANSWERS WERE AND I WANT TO HAVE STRATEGIES THAT I CAN WORK ON AT HOME TO HELP HER BE THE BEST STUDENT SHE CAN BE GOING INTO FOURTH GRADE.” COMISSIONER SCHWINN MADE IT CLEAR THURSDAY THAT REGARDLESS OF THE CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL VOUCHER LEGISLATION THAT WILL IMPACT STUDENTS IN TWO COUNTIES IN WESTERN TENNESSEE — HER FOCUS IS ON THE 1 MILLION CHILDREN IN TENNESSEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. “I WANT TO BE ABLE TO LOOK A PARENT IN THE EYE, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE IN THE STATE AND SAY WE ARE WORKING FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR CHILD TO ENSURE THAT HE OR SHE HAS THE BEST POSSIBLE EDUCATION.” SCHWINN ALSO RELAYED HER EXPERIENCE AS A TEACHER TO CAST OUT ANY DOUBT WHETHER THE SCHOOL VOUCHER SYSTEM WOULD DIMINSH THE QUALITY OF TEACHERS IN TENNESSEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. “I THINK IF THERE IS ANY IMPACT, IT’S ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT AS A STATE, WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO BEING A KIDS FIRST, CHILDRENS FIRST STATE, SO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO COME INTO EDUCATION KNOWS THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ABOUT, SO IF YOU WANT TO TEACH IN LEAD IN TENNESSEE, THEN YOU BETTER TEACH AND LEAD BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE ABOUT KIDS REGARDLESS.” DR. SCHWINN ALSO SAID SO FAR, THERE IS NO TIME TABLE YET AS TO WHEN SCHOOLS IN THE TRI-CITIES COULD SEE RECEIVE FUNDS FROM THE SCHOOL VOUCHER SYSTEM.. EARMARKED FOR SCHOOLS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES.