‘Partnership district’ could help improve 5 failing schools

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Local and state leaders in Tennessee are working to create a separate school district to help improve low-performing schools.

The Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/2pwRtK4) reports that education leaders hope to launch Tennessee’s first “partnership district.” The plan would allow school districts and local initiatives to collaborate instead of the state taking over low-performing schools.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen says the idea is different from how the state has handled previous turnarounds. She says the district will support 2,300 students at Hamilton County’s lowest performing schools. The school board still needs to approve the plan.

Last fall, McQueen began urging education leaders to improve Hamilton County’s five priority schools, which fall in the bottom 5 percent statewide for performance.

Since 2012, Hamilton County’s priority schools have made little to no progress academically despite Tennessee pumping more than $10 million into them.