Lee administration details $100M literacy initiative

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration is detailing its $100 million literacy initiative called Reading 360.

Here’s the release from the state Education Department:

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education released details on a new $100 million statewide initiative, “Reading 360,” to ensure Tennessee districts, teachers, and families are equipped with tools and resources to help students read on grade level by third grade.

To help support literacy development in Tennessee, the state will leverage approximately $60 million of one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding and $40 million in federal grant funding to immediately launch Reading 360 and invest in optional reading resources and supports at no cost to the state or districts.

Reading 360 will provide optional grants and resources to help more Tennessee students develop strong phonics-based reading skills by supporting districts, teachers, and families.

“When our students succeed our entire state prospers, and we know that reading on grade level is foundational to the success of every student, both in and out of the classroom,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “Reading 360 will give critical supports to districts and educators so we can address this challenge urgently and put Tennessee’s students on the right track to grow and thrive.”

“In the last decade, Tennessee has done remarkable work to increase expectations for student learning and to improve outcomes for our kids. Now, we are uniquely positioned to tackle literacy with urgency and can do so from all sides,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our state has a golden opportunity to lead the nation in literacy, and most importantly, accelerate progress for our students.”

Reading is the foundation to all learning and reading proficiently by third grade is a critical milestone for every student. Before the pandemic, only one third of third graders in Tennessee had met expectations in English Language Arts (ELA), the best standardized proxy for reading achievement. Our state has not yet comprehensively and effectively addressed this challenge, and after a year disrupted by COVID-19, school building closures and virtual learning, the stakes are higher than ever for our students.

Through optional grants to districts, students and families will have access to tutoring and online supports to help develop foundational skills in literacy. Tennessee educators will have access to free training and professional development, phonics kits and materials to use in their classrooms, and stipends for training. Districts will have access to a suite of tools and resources to support their teachers and schools in implementing strong reading instruction for all students.

Tennessee has led the nation in academic gains for students over the past decade, and most recently in the K-12 crisis response to COVID-19. Tennessee is now poised not just to protect students, teachers, and schools in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic, but to accelerate student learning further and faster than ever before.

46 Responses to Lee administration details $100M literacy initiative

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    YAYYY!!!

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    James White says:

    With Federal Money comes Federal Controls.

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    karen bracken says:

    I wonder how much Schwinn’s pals will make on this deal?? This will end up being $100 mil flushed down the toilet just like all the millions we spent on the worthless Common Core and bulieve me CC is still alive and well in TN no matter how much they lie to people about it.

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      karen bracken says:

      I wonder how much Schwinn’s pals will make on this deal?? This will end up being $100 mil flushed down the toilet just like all the millions we spent on the worthless Common Core and believe me CC is still alive and well in TN no matter how much they lie to people about it.

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    Jennifer Hamblin says:

    There is nothing yay about this because Schwinn and Lee have proven that
    our students aren’t first! I agree with Karen Bracken, and let’s wait and see what
    behind the door deals were made for this initiative. When you’re still with aligned with
    common core enough said!
    I pray every day that our education committee and other legislators are strong enough
    to see through this BS!

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      Beatrice Shaw says:

      You sound like someone with no knowledge of the education system and definitely no knowledge of what goes on in our schools. Please leave it to the experts to help our children during this tough time.

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        James White says:

        “only one third of third graders in Tennessee had met expectations in English Language Arts (ELA), the best standardized proxy for reading achievement.”
        The ‘experts’ have had their chance, they have Failed the children.

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          Jonathan Swift says:

          It’s the parents that have failed the children in many cases. Parents that use public schools only for daycare and decline to participate in the education of their children are a huge factor.

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    MARLE says:

    When will taxpayers see, in real time, what their tax dollars are buying. C-span lets me see what is going on in the Chambers of Congress. When will we have cameras in the classroom (trained exclusively on the Teacher so that privacy concerns are off the table) so I can see first hand how “Reading 360” actually plays out in a real classroom, in real time?

    Something is woefully wrong in public education and technology can let us, the stakeholders who foot the bill, get a window on this world. I want a ring side seat from my living room.

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    steve cates says:

    Like “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” and “Career Ladder” and on and on and on, this will be the same. As others have stated, high level friends of friends will be paid “consultants” and sell all types of new “programs”, most of which will wind up somewhere on shelving in various school districts or on computers that are out-of-date and discarded. The only help for students is real teachers paid well and given the necessary supplies to do what they should know how to do:
    TEACH ( whether phonics or states and capitals or long division or Spanish or world history!).

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Did anyone read the article? 60 MILLION DOLLARS OF ONE-TIME FEDERAL MONEY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF is where the money is coming from along with another 40 million in “other” funding grants. The state of Tennessee just spent eight days in first place on the list of new cases in the USA for Covid-19. In 2020 612,250 Tennesseans contracted the virus and over 7,000 of our fellow citizens DIED from the virus. Now the conservative republican “leaders” want to use Covid Relief Funds to start a “New” experimental reading program for children in our state. Yes, we desperately need more funding for schools in this state but NOT like this. How can they even shift funding so far away from the designated purpose. This is just wrong but not unusual for our “leaders.” Trump and his republican supporters at the state level have failed miserably in any type of virus response/plan and this is just more proof of that. People are dying in large numbers from a controllable virus and our leaders shift funds to new reading programs? Go figure.

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      MARLE says:

      Covid relief was added Into an omnibus bill that contained the usual favorite spending by both parties. It wasn’t a “Covid” bill that politicians added other stuff into.

      You have the process by which we got all these items backa__ward.

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        MARLE says:

        And that is the process in which Trump’s negotiator Steve Mnuchin was a key player on behalf of the administration. How this all evolved was not “news” to anyone in the administration.

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      Cannoneer2 says:

      I thought Mr. Lee had cronies already lined up to benefit from any Covid “relief” money that Tennessee received. Why drag education into it?

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Why can’t the republicans do anything just straight forward without tricks and gimmicks and ways to cover their tracks with misdirection? The article says funds “from a one time Covid-19 relief bill.”

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      Beatrice Shaw says:

      Republicans are going the way of dinosaurs. I predict by this time tomorrow we will finally have all branches of the Government back on track and operating for the benefit of the people.

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        MARLE says:

        Benefit of SOME of the people. That’s how slavery worked…..for the benefit of SOME of the people.

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        Cryan says:

        Trump said the Republican Party must have a “death wish.” I can’t believe so many are risking a primary challenge from MAGA.

        The pageantry tomorrow is not enough for Marsha and Bill. MAGA will remember they never supported the president and his $2,000 universal basic income checks and tariffs and other populist measures.

        Charlie Kirk and Kid Rock will be our next Senators. Swain will be governor. The RINOs are out.

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          Cannoneer2 says:

          The most dangerous place to be seems to be the space between Marsha Blackburn and a TV camera. Hagerty seems to be on track to compete for that honor.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            That’s OK so long as she continues to have a Heritage score of 85% and Hagerty does too they can stand in front of all the cameras that they please.

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            Cryan says:

            Even when they’re RINOs and trash Trump voters, Stuart? Congratulations on giving up control of the Senate to make your point about Trump’s place in the party (not welcome). Mcconnell and Kemp really showed him who is in control, and all it cost was the Senate Majority.

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          Phillip Lassiter says:

          I read somewhere that Swain survives off political welfare-constantly begging for money to take trips or have a short lived TV show or podcast-all the while using the money to prop herself up. It’s just something I read

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            MARLE says:

            It is hard to tell who the “real Swain” is. Is she the one who as a professor at Princeton accused the police of harassing her teenage son and forced the Princeton police to begin a program to Sensitivity Training for all Officers?

            Is she the anti-abortionist telling young women “NO” who want to abort their babies b/c a pregnancy would interfere with their life plans when she herself had an abortion?

            Is she the devout born again Christian who believes in the healing power of prayer or the woman who espoused New Age philosophies that emphasized the healing power of Crystals?

            She spent 15 years her life influencing college age “minds of mush” in a lot of VERY anti-conservative ways.

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            Cannoneer2 says:

            I haven’t heard any of that information anywhere, MARLE. That is interesting.

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            MARLE says:

            It is all in her book or you can find it in a round table she did with Ann Coulter and several other guests. It is not something she elaborates on. But none of it is a secret. Personally I think that as a Black woman she didn’t get a lot of attention from Democrats (which she clearly was) when she was against the police or outside of main stream religion. But since she started “working the other side of the street” she became the darling of republicans. Once she got some attention she doubled down and, since she is a media hound, she has worked hard to become a national celebrity (perhaps mostly in her own mind) of the conservative movement. She is an opportunist in my opinion.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            There is no reason to be so cynical about it. Maybe she had a “Road to Damascus event” which apparently happened to Candace Owens as well. Much to the good I say! It is preposterous that 90% or so of Negro voters vote Democrat given the diversity of individual personalities in any racial or ethnic group.

            Of course, I can’t relate changes like that insofar as I have been a libertarian conservative, certainly ever since early in high school. Indeed, I was a libertarian conservative even before I knew I was one given my sad fate to have grown up in a very liberal community in a very liberal family. Thus, no Road to Damascus event was necessary for me to see the light I am happy to say. Apparently “seeing the light” was an ability I was equipped with from birth.

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            MARLE says:

            Seeing the light wouldn’t work for her in her Ivy League professor gig. So she conveniently didn’t see the light. It wouldn’t have worked for her to get the gig at Vanderbilt and get tenure so she again didn’t see the light.

            When it became less career threatening (and dovetailed nicely with her interest in national attention) the light came on. Grow up Stuart.

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            MARLE says:

            And just because I’m cynical when it comes to her, doesn’t mean I’m not right. I am also cynical about Trump.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            When you place yourself on the Road to Damascus, there is no reason to do so in the heat of the summer, nor in the dead of winter either. Surely we can agree MARLE that wouldn’t be reasonable assuming you can hit the road at any time. No, why not wait until the “atmosphere” is favorable, in the temperate spring or fall. Shows the lady has a head on her shoulders and that’s why she inspires me in her frequent appearances on the “Tennessee Star Report” with the great Michael Patrick Leahy on Tues. mornings when I am doing my errands during my Chinese Flu avoidance regimen.

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            MARLE says:

            Shows the lady is a self-serving a chameleon at best and a crass opportunist at worst. She has never met a camera she didn’t love. I have seen her grab anyone well dressed in the off chance they are someone important to take a selfie with her. I believe her really love (other than herself) is public speaking and she would love bigger bucks for her effort. I really think that is what hoping to be Mayor was all about. Padding the resume for mo money, mo money.

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            James White says:

            She is an Islamaphobe.

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    James White says:

    “Tennessee educators will have access to free training and professional development, phonics kits and materials to use in their classrooms, and stipends for training. Districts will have access to a suite of tools”
    I bet they use ‘whole language’ learning, a mixture of Phonics and Sight (look say) reading. Does NOT work. Pure phonics is the best.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Let’s all party!! Looks like the Senate, House and President are all finally held by the MORAL HIGH GROUND!!! No more Wall Street pandering or attacking minorities or wasting money on corporate bailouts!!!

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      Yep, Stuart’s master plan of disparaging and threatening the Republican base really paid off. It only cost the Senate Majority. What a great strategist he is.

      The Republican Party Civil War he shrugged off will reveal itself fully during the electoral college vote this afternoon. Good job, Stuart and Mike Pence.

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        Beatrice Shaw says:

        I was reading where hundreds of Tennesseans went to the Capitol today to rally for Trump Whoever went up there is Certifiable. How much you want to bet the Swain-let me get an abortion but you can’t have one or I’ll chastise you-lady is up there collecting bus fares?

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        MARLE says:

        You, Cryan, and the others like you have handed the election to Biden and the Senate to two improbables in GA.

        Stacy Abrams had an easy time rallying Dems and Independents. Her job should have been impossible in a RED state but sycophants, devoid of reality, made it happen.

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          Cryan says:

          Like I said, here comes the Republican Civil War and blame game. Go ahead and turn away the base even more. Democrats winning in demographically shifting states aren’t going to be a surprise at all after the collapse of the RINOs.

          Devin Nunes and Gym Jordan ($2,000 UBI/tariff/populists) are Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. Trumpism will complete it’s hostile takeover of the GOP in the 2022 primaries, no matter how much Stuart tries to convince us he’s pulling all the strings on behalf of Washington D.C. based think-tanks and lobbying firms.

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            MARLE says:

            In GA there have been 3 Senate races where the Rep candidate won by 9-15% in each race. Now, in less than 10 years both Republicans LOSE to Dems who have never held elected office. SENATE races won by 2 people who never won dog catcher!

            There is no blame game starting. Many of us have begged people, for years, to be realistic and hold Trump accountable when he makes a mistake. To do otherwise made Trump unwilling to pivot from tactics and antics that became abusive and derisive.

            4 years of both Trump and his delusional sycophant followers claiming everything he did was perfect proved to many voters that 8 years of this would simply be intolerable.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Trump policies are reasonably conservative in a number of ways and are ideologically well within the normal spectrum of thought within the Republican Party. If that is what Trumpidians are interested in they certainly have a place in the Republican Party. On the other hand, if Trumpidians are solely interested in the worship of a the terribly flawed narcissistic jerk, soon to be EX-President Blowhard, and their mantra is “Rule or Ruin” by all means challenge in the primaries. You may win in the short-run here and there but soon enough your leader will be gone and then you will be nothing but a “third-party” fringe movement with no leader and no ideology going nowhere.

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      James White says:

      You can count on continued corporate/bank bailout no matter which party controls the congress or executive.

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      MARLE says:

      The market, Bea, is UP on the news. They are up b/c the Dems are going to continue to do what Trump has done….Run DEFICITS, Add to the DEBT, keep the Fed PRINTING MONEY and Holding interest rates artificially LOW, and DROP money to anyone and everyone to STIMULATE wall street.

      Trump has made ALL of the above, which fuel consumption and add to corporate profits, acceptable.

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        James White says:

        And Trump could NOT have done with out a compliant House and Senate

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          MARLE says:

          Trump ruled the Rep party with fear. Fear of losing their power. A toady like Tom Cotton who has had Trump’s back every day for 4 years was unwilling to vote today for the electoral college vote rejection. That put him on Trump’s hit list.

          There are no profiles in courage to be found. None. And now debt and deficits are acceptable since that’s what we’ve had, in a roaring economy, for 4 years. A Fed that makes the lending rate on the 2-year at .13%. All of this BEfore Covid showed up. Printed money, as much as is necessary to jack up the market….all fine. AND the most fine during the Trump years.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    It is interesting to sit back and listen to all these conservatives try to tell each other what went wrong in Georgia and try to fix blame as to the huge loss in Georgia. I believe Trump & the GOP leadership deserves most of the credit for the LOSS and Stacy Abrams is due some credit for the win. I do believe John Lewis is smiling down on Georgia today. Thank you Georgia!!

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