Group spent $975K helping ‘re-elect pro-education candidates’ in TN legislature

News release from Tennesseans for Student Success

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success today announced the results of their issue advocacy and voter identification work throughout the state. A non-profit dedicated to making sure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed, a strong focus of their 2016 work has been to inform voters of the policies, people, and priorities that led to Tennessee’s unprecedented gains in education.

“In April, we committed to spending $500,000 on an aggressive air, data, and ground strategy,” said TSS president and CEO Adam Lister. “Including our work through November, we spent $975,000 in our efforts to make sure Tennesseans knew about the great things happening in their classrooms. In every area we engaged, voters chose to re-elect pro-education candidates and made clear their mandate to protect and continue the policies that have led Tennessee to become the fastest improving state in the nation in math, English language arts, and science.”

A compilation of TSS work since August shows the statewide group made over 2 million phone calls, ran both dozens of Facebook ads with more than 10 million impressions and 50,000 clicks and an online video with more than 125,000 views, and commissioned 40 polls throughout the state. They sent mail highlighting the great work of teachers and student to more than 250,000 households and hosted eight Days of Action in Nashville and Knoxville, knocking on nearly 13,000 doors to share the good news of Tennessee’s academic gains with voters.

Lister continued: “We are thrilled for Tennessee’s students that pro-reform champions will be returning to the General Assembly. We were confident that our message of strong classrooms, accountability, high standards, parent-driven and publicly-funded choice, and the necessity of a yearly assessment would win at the ballot box. The real winners here, though, continue to be Tennessee’s kids who today are better prepared for success than ever before. While electoral successes in August and November are worth celebrating, we look forward to talking to Tennesseans, learning more about their priority issues, and advocating for student success in 2017 and beyond.”

Note: As reported in earlier Tennessee Journal, the primary beneficiaries of the group’s spending were Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville; Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville; and House Speaker Beth Harwell. Tennesseans for Student Success, a non-profit group that dodges disclosure of political spending by characterizing its efforts as “issue advocacy.” In general, it takes the same positions on education issues as does Gov. Bill Haslam.

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