SCHOOL FUNDING State-mandated education programs that don’t include extra money to pay for them are the ire of school leaders, and the head of Tennessee’s largest district is reminding state lawmakers that they have a chance to begin addressing a big one this year. Chalkbeat

SHIFTING STRATEGY Bill and Melinda Gates say they are rethinking how they address poverty in the U.S. — a move that could have them expand their influential philanthropic efforts beyond education. Chalkbeat

MEDIATION Though the Signal Mountain Town Council disbanded the committee created to investigate the possibility of creating an independent school district, a local education advocacy group has offered to serve as a mediator for future community conversations. Times Free Press

POSITIVE MARKS After his first year leading Cleveland City Schools, the school board gives Russell Dyer a high evaluation score and a 4-year contract. Cleveland Daily Banner

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION As Greeneville school leaders make their case for a single high school in the county, the director says students are missing out on courses that could be housed in one campus, but not all four. The Greeneville Sun

SCHOOL EXPANSION Maryville’s two intermediate schools could reach their enrollment capacity in 2020-21, a decade earlier than expected. The Daily Times

HELPING HAND A Memphis TV station honors a teacher’s aide who tutors students and helps raise 13 nieces and nephews. WREG

DISTRICT SECESSION A federal appeals court rules that an Alabama town can’t form its own school system because racial motives were involved in the attempt to split.


PHOTO: Campaign for School Equity
Campaign for School Equity took more than 100 Memphis students to Nashville as a culmination of an advocacy training program. Legislators who met with the students include Tennessee House Members Karen Camper, Barbara Cooper, John DeBerry, G.A. Hardaway, Larry Miller, Johnnie Turner, Kevin Vaughn, and Mark White, as well as Tennessee Senate Members Jim Coley, Lee Harris, Brian Kelsey, Sara Kyle, and Reginald Tate. Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen addressed the students at a special mock assembly to share the state’s education priorities and participate in a question and answer session with students.