News release from Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth:
Tennessee is 39th in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 National KIDS COUNT Data Book ranking of child well-being released today.
Rankings on 16 indicators are clustered in four domains — Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Tennessee improved slightly on two domains, held steady on one, and dropped on another.
“Child well-being is a barometer of the current and future well-being of the state,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, state affiliate of the KIDS COUNT program, “and while we are disappointed Tennessee’s 2013 composite ranking dropped from 36th in 2012 after three years of ‘best ever’ state rankings, we are pleased to see progress in several indicators.
“Emphasis on keeping children in school in Tennessee resulted in the state scoring better than the national average in the percent of high school students graduating on time and of children in families where the household head has a high school diploma.”
News release from Tennessee Department of Transportation:
NASHVILLE – In honor of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States (BFS) ranking. In the sixth annual assessment, Tennessee ranked 2nd in the southeast region, while placing 17th nationally. Tennessee has improved its national ranking from 26th in 2012.
“With all the competing transportation needs we have, Tennessee is proud to be making gains in the area of bicycle friendliness,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “The network of bike lanes across the state is growing each and every year and we will continue to dedicate funding for important programs such as Safe Routes to School.”
Tennessee’s ranking was based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; educational programs that promote cycling, and passage and enforcement of bicycle friendly laws that increase safety for riders of all ages. The League of American Bicyclists commended TDOT for developing a statewide bicycle plan, and for including a bicycle safety emphasis in its Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
The Tennessean has a list, compiled from Center for Responsive Politics information, ranking Tennessee members of Congress in their dependence on PACs for contributions in the 2012 election cycle. Here it is:
• Rep. John Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville: $471,649 or 73 percent, 19th highest (of U.S. House members).
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood: $1.11 million or 63.4 percent, 63rd highest.
• Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis: $482,822 or 58.1 percent, 95th highest.
• Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin: $1.17 million or 48.3 percent, 187 highest.
• Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah: $554,955 or 39.5 percent, 278th highest.
• Rep. Steve Fincher, R-Frog Jump: $881,086 or 39.2 percent, 281st highest.
• Rep. Scott DesJarlais: $471,178 or 37.5 percent, 295th highest.
• Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville: $358,654 or 29.7 percent, 348th highest.
• Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City: $0, 433rd highest.
The accompanying story is focused mostly on U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. It’s HERE.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s U.S. senators have been named the top Republican members of two key committees.
Sen. Bob Corker was named the ranking GOP member on the Foreign Relations Committee, while Sen. Lamar Alexander was elected by his colleagues to the same post on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The ranking member works with the Democratic chairman to represent the Republican interests on the panel.
Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, was elected to his second six-year term in November. Alexander, who was first elected to the Senate in 2002, is a former two-term governor, U.S. education secretary and president of the University of Tennessee.
Republicans hold 45 seats in the 100-member chamber.
News release from StudentsFirst:
NASHVILLE- Today, national education reform advocacy organization StudentsFirst published its first-ever State Policy Report Card, a new tool for improving student achievement that does not look at individual or school-wide test scores or teacher effectiveness, but instead gauges how well each state’s education policies are serving students and schools.
The national report raises serious questions about whether states’ education laws and practices are contributing to student success. Nationally, nearly ninety percent of the states received less than a “C” grade on the State Policy Report Card, and no state earned higher than a “B-“.
Tennessee was awarded an overall grade of “C-,” with a grade point average of 1.75, for its performance in three critical areas: elevating teaching, empowering parents and spending public dollars wisely. The state ranked 11th nationally, but was praised in the report for implementing a comprehensive system for meaningfully evaluating teachers and principals that positions the state far ahead of most in the country.
“The StudentsFirst Policy Report Cards serve as a roadmap for leaders and policymakers in Nashville, and an opportunity to continue building on the meaningful reforms that put students first,” said Brent Easley, Tennessee state director for StudentsFirst. “We believe that every child in Tennessee can learn regardless of their background or circumstance, but we must have the right policies in place that offer a supportive and enriching educational environment for reform to thrive. That includes empowering parents, and offering high-quality options for students throughout Tennessee.”
Tennessee ranks eighth among states in the volume of federal grants its research centers receive — pulling in nearly $2.5 billion last year. Yet, it ranks 41st in jobs created from those research dollars, according to a report by the Kauffman Foundation.
From The Tennessean:
Tennessee ranks eighth among states in the volume of federal grants its research centers receive — pulling in nearly $2.5 billion last year.
Yet, it ranks 41st in jobs created from those research dollars, according to a report by the Kauffman Foundation.
“We fall in the rankings every year, so we need to invest more in these types of (entrepreneurial) activities,” said James Stover, former director of operations at the state-funded Tennessee Technology Development Corp., or TTDC, which strives to bridge the gap between scientists in the lab and consumers in the marketplace.
To that end, the TTDC in August will kick off a major initiative called Launch Tennessee to help move innovations to commercialization through tie-ins with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
“You need the talent, the intellectual property and the money,” Stover said.
The Launch Tennessee idea will be presented to the TTDC board in early August, and many of its provisions should be in place by the end of September, said Brad Smith, who took over June 1 as president and chief executive of the organization.