Students from across Tennessee lend their insight to issues facing public education

Friday, April 14, 2017

Students from Marshall County High School joined approximately 350 of their high school peers in Murfreesboro on March 7 to express their views on public education in Tennessee at the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE). The event took place on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

MCHS students Davis George and Leah Hollingsworth attended the day-long event; teacher Vanessa Sweeney served as the students’ chaperone.

Now in its 35th year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed. Attendees participated in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. The sessions were led by actual school board members, superintendents and educational leaders from across the state.

Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues. This year’s four debate topics and results from the poll were:

1. The ACT shall be substituted for end of course examinations. (Agree: 31 percent, Disagree: 69 percent)

2. All high schools shall offer at least twenty percent of classroom instruction online. (Agree: 69 percent, Disagree: 31 percent)

3. Every student shall have an Individual Education Program (IEP). (Agree: 50 percent, Disagree: 50 percent)

4. A student discipline council shall be organized to handle minor student offenses. (Agree: 20 percent, Disagree: 80 percent)

SCOPE delegates elected 2018 SCOPE officers and they are:

• President: Maya Harris, Dyersburg High School, Dyersburg

• 1st Vice President: Noah Smith, Campbell County High School, Campbell County

• 2nd Vice President: Ty Youngblood, Greeneville High School, Greeneville

The Tennessee School Boards Association was organized in 1939 to provide a united voice in education for local public school boards. In 1953, the State Legislature officially recognized TSBA as the “organization and representative agency of the members of school boards in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association is a service organization to all the state’s school boards. It serves as an advocate for the interests of Tennessee’s public school students and school districts and provides in-service training and assistance for the state’s 945 board of education members.