What We’ve Done

Our Work & Wins

Since 1999, Stand 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.


We 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, we 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.

We have 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. 

We were a pivotal member in the "Expect More. Achieve More." coalition to protect high standards for Tennessee children in the legislature in 2014. Please see a complete report of our legislative work here[AT1] . 

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. 
  • Stand Nashville also had success in school board campaigns, winning two seats in 2010 and winning another two in 2012.

Recent Community Engagement

We saved 42 pre-K classrooms from closure with a 2,000 petition signatures that we 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. 

We 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.  We were able to swing a critical vote from Commissioner Ford with 122 phone calls to his office, and we were 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

We educated the community about the Memphis district 6 appointment process. We facilitated a forum for candidates, and it was attended by over 150 people and the county commission. We also facilitated personal interviews about the candidates so commissioners could make an informed decision on who to choose. Because of our efforts, the public and the commission was better informed and engaged in the process. Subsequently, Stand member Shante Avant was appointed by the commission.

We surpassed their own goal of 4,000 yes votes in the Memphis Pre-K campaign. While coming up short on the overall vote, we cemented our place as a community leader in education. We were pivotal to the pre-K coalition, and it was the ground game for the campaign. Many inroads and ground work were laid, and we will continue to fight for pre-K for Memphis children.

Stand for Children National Work

Stand has been very busy in Tennessee, but we have also been working hard for our children in 8 other states. Take a look at the 2016 Annual Report.


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