Since 1999, Stand for Children members in Tennessee have won 23 state and local victories leveraging more than $150 million in public funding for schools and other programs serving more than 1,383,303 children. Our objectives are to improve Tennessee schools and achieve legislative and electoral victories for our students.
Notable Legislative Work
Stand played a meaningful role in developing and passing the First to the Top Act (2010), which lifts a prohibition on using student achievement data in teacher and principal evaluations and gives the state greater flexibility in turning around low-performing schools. Tennessee’s work on First to the Top led the state to be one of the first two recipients of millions of dollars in a federal Race to the Top grant.
Since then, Stand supported the follow-up Senate Bill 1528/House Bill 2012 (2011), which reforms tenure, links tenure status to performance evaluations, and makes performance a primary criterion for district layoff decisions.
Stand has worked actively on legislation around teacher quality, tenure, charter school authorization, the Shelby County consolidation, mutual consent hiring for teachers, and many other important areas of educational legislation.
Stand was a pivotal member in the "Expect More. Achieve More." coalition to protect Common Core State Standards in the legislature in 2014. Please see a complete report of our legislative work here.
Recent Electoral Work
- Stand Memphis endorsed and campaigned in 2012 for the new Unified School Board in Shelby County. Members phone banked, canvassed, and poll worked, reaching out to 30,000 likely voters- and successfully won 4 out of the 7 seats, with all endorsed candidates becoming members.
- Nashville Stand also had success in school board campaigns, winning two seats in 2010 and winning another two in 2012.
Recent Community Engagement
Stand Tennessee saved 42 Pre-K classrooms from closure with a 2,000 petition signatures that they collected in two weeks both on the ground and online. In addition, with the help of 20 Pre-K providers, their teachers, their parents, and our members, we were able to sway the Shelby County School Board to preserve the pre-k classrooms, benefitting 840 children.
Stand Tennessee helped in the campaign for a property tax increase in Memphis. The tax gained 20 million dollars for the school system, but more importantly, it afforded the school system the ability to make no additional cuts to its proposed budget- cuts that would have directly affected students and teachers. Stand was able to swing a critical vote from Commissioner Ford with 122 phone calls to his office and Stand was credited with him changing his vote.
Stand utilized the tactics below-
- 122 phone calls and voicemails to Commissioner Ford and Commissioner Harvey
- 29 hand written letters delivered
- 2000 petition signatures
- 17 leaders/allies spoke at 3 meetings
- 14 one on one meeting with County Commissioners
Stand Tennessee mobilized members to attend the State Senate Education Committee hearing on Common Core. Common Core is under attack in Tennessee and Stand is a crucial member of the Expect More Achieve More coalition to protect Common Core. Members from Nashville and Memphis attended to show their support. Below is a picture of new Executive Director, Betty Anderson, and Nashville City Director, Daniele O’Donnell, with members form Memphis.
Stand Tennessee educated the community about the Memphis district 6 appointment process. Stand facilitated a forum for candidates and it was attended by over 150 people and the county commission. Stand facilitated personal interviews about the candidates so commissioners could make an informed decision on who to choose. Because of Stands efforts the public and the commission was better informed and engaged in the process. Subsequently, Stand member Shante Avant was appointed by the commission.
Stand Tennessee surpassed their own goal of 4,000 yes votes in the Memphis Pre-K campaign. While coming up short on the overall vote, Stand cemented their place as a community leader in education. Stand was pivotal to the Pre-K coalition and it was the ground game for the campaign. Many inroads and ground work were laid and Stand will continue to fight for pre-k for Memphis children.
Stand Tennessee hosted an educator reception on Common Core State Standards where teachers from around Nashville came and heard from the Stand team leaders, a Metro school board member, as well as State Assistant Commissioner of Curriculum and Instruction, Emily Barton. The event was well attended and educators left knowing the importance of the standards and that there was opposition to them and that other educators needed to speak up and out.
Stand for Children National Work
Stand has been very busy in Tennesse, but we have also been working hard for our children in 8 other states. Take a look at the 2013 Stand for Children Annual Report.