Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 49: Education

Chapter 1: State Administration

Part 3: State Board of Education

TCA 49-1-302: Powers and duties of board -- Confidentiality of records -- Standards, policies, recommendations and actions subject to appropriations -- Duty-free teacher time -- Confidentiality and integrity of statewide tests -- Ungraded and unstructured classes -- Limits on local costs of special education -- Recruitment, employment and retention of African-American teachers -- Uniform clothing -- Railroad crossing safety -- Standards of care and other educational endeavors.

(a) It is the duty of the board, and it has the power to:

(1) (A) Study programs of instruction in public schools, kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12);

(B) Analyze the needs of such public schools;

(C) Study the use of public funds for such public schools; and

(D) Include the conclusions of the studies and analyses in its annual recommendations to the governor and general assembly for the funding of public education;

(2) Set policies for:

(A) The completion of elementary, middle, junior high and senior high schools as structured in each school district;

(B) Evaluating individual student progress and achievement;

(C) Evaluating individual teachers; and

(D) Measuring the educational achievement of individual schools;

(3) Develop and maintain current a master plan for the development of public education, kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12), and provide recommendations to the executive branch, the general assembly and the local boards of education and directors of schools regarding the use of public funds for education;

(4) (A) Develop and adopt policies, formulas and guidelines for the fair and equitable distribution and use of public funds among public schools and for the funding of all requirements of state laws, rules, regulations and other required expenses, and to regulate expenditures of state appropriations for public education, kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12). The policies, formulas and guidelines may be changed as necessary, but not more often than once per appropriation period, and shall not be considered rules subject to promulgation under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5. The policies, formulas and guidelines adopted by the board shall consider and include provisions for current operation and maintenance, textbooks, school food services, pupil transportation, vocational and technical education, number of programs of pupils served, measurable pupil improvement, reduction of pupil dropouts, teacher training, experience and certification, pupil-teacher ratio, substitute teacher reimbursement, requirements prescribed by state laws, rules, regulations or other required costs, and inflation, and may include other elements deemed by the board to be necessary. Any changes in the basic education program components of the formula as approved by the board for the 1992-1993 fiscal year must first be approved by the commissioners of education and finance and administration;

(B) The board shall establish a review committee for the Tennessee basic education program (BEP). The committee shall include the executive director of the state board of education, the commissioner of education, the commissioner of finance and administration, the comptroller of the treasury, the director of the Tennessee advisory commission on intergovernmental relations, the chairs of the standing committees on education of the senate and house of representatives, and the director of the office of legislative budget analysis, or their designees. The board shall appoint at least one (1) member from each of the following groups: teachers, school boards, directors of schools, county governments, municipal governments that operate LEAs, finance directors of urban school systems, finance directors of suburban school systems and finance directors of rural school systems. The BEP review committee shall meet at least four (4) times a year and shall regularly review the BEP components, as well as identify needed revisions, additions or deletions to the formula. The committee shall annually review the BEP instructional positions component, taking into consideration factors including, but not limited to, total instructional salary disparity among LEAs, differences in benefits and other compensation among LEAs, inflation, and instructional salaries in states in the southeast and other regions. The committee shall prepare an annual report on the BEP and shall provide the report on or before November 1 of each year, to the governor, the state board of education, the education committee of the senate and the education committee of the house of representatives. This report shall include recommendations on needed revisions, additions and deletions to the formula, as well as an analysis of instructional salary disparity among LEAs, including an analysis of disparity in benefits and other compensation among LEAs;

(5) (A) Adopt policies governing:

(i) The qualifications, requirements and standards of and provide the licenses and certificates for all public school teachers, principals, assistant principals, supervisors and directors of schools;

(ii) The revocation of licenses and certificates;

(iii) Evaluation of teachers, principals, assistant principals, supervisors and directors of schools; and

(iv) Retraining and professional development;

(B) The board may adopt a policy establishing levels of compensation that are correlated to levels and standards of teacher competency approved by the board;

(6) Set policies for graduation requirements in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12);

(7) Set policies for the review, approval or disapproval and classification of all public schools, kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12), or any combination of these grades;

(8) Set policies governing all curricula and courses of study in the public schools;

(9) Prescribe the use of textbooks and other instructional materials, based on recommendations of the state textbook commission, for the various subjects taught or used in conjunction with the public schools;

(10) Meet jointly with the higher education commission and the commissioner of education at least annually for the purpose of reviewing the expenditures and programs of public education. Not later than February 1 of each year, the state board of education and the higher education commission shall jointly provide a report to the governor and to the general assembly, all public schools and institutions of higher learning and their respective governing boards. The report shall include, but not be limited to:

(A) The extent of duplication in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education;

(B) The extent of compatibility in high school graduation requirements and admission requirements of postsecondary institutions;

(C) The extent to which respective master plans of the board and the higher education commission are being fulfilled; and

(D) The extent to which state needs in public education are being met as determined by such board and commission;

(11) Approve, disapprove or amend rules and regulations prepared by the commissioner to implement policies, standards or guidelines of the board in order to effectuate this section;

(12) Determine the ways and means of improving teacher, student and school performances, and to set policies to accomplish such improvements;

(13) Provide, in association with the commissioner, an annual report, no later than February 1, on teacher, student and school performance to the governor and to the general assembly;

(14) Prescribe rules and regulations to establish a program whereby a local school may withhold all grade cards, diplomas, certificates of progress or transcripts of a student who has incurred a debt to the school or a student who has taken property that belongs to a local school or any agency of the school until the student makes restitution to the school for the debt. The rules and regulations shall not permit the imposition of sanctions against a student who is without fault;

(15) (A) Develop a professional credentialing program for school principals that includes professional training and testing components. LEAs shall have the option of participating in the program; provided, that all school principals employed for the first time by LEAs for the 1994-1995 school year shall have attended the program and shall have received the full credential offered through the program;

(B) Persons having an endorsement in administration/supervision, supervisor of instruction or principal on August 31, 1994, shall maintain that credential and shall not be required to complete the professional credentialing program as provided in this subdivision (a)(15);

(C) Any person who performs the duties of a supervisor of instruction, regardless of the title of the person's position, must have the credential required for a supervisor of instruction;

(D) Persons having an endorsement as a supervisor of instruction on August 31, 1994, shall maintain the credential and shall not be required to complete the professional credentialing program as provided in this subdivision (a)(15);

(16) (A) Promulgate, in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, rules requiring each LEA that has a jurisdiction that lies entirely or partially within one hundred (100) miles of the New Madrid fault line to implement earthquake preparedness drills in each of the schools administered by that LEA. In developing the rules, the board shall consult and collaborate with the Tennessee emergency management agency and the state fire marshal. The rules shall include a model plan for earthquake preparedness drills in schools, and the model plan shall be suitable for adoption or modification by affected LEAs;

(B) The drills shall be conducted at least twice every school year. A record of all earthquake preparedness drills, including the time and date, shall be kept in the respective schools and shall be made available for review upon request by the board;

(17) The general assembly finds that, given the fact that the state provides substantial financial academic assistance to students of the state based on cumulative grade point averages and the fact that LEAs currently use a variety of grading scales, it is in the best interest of the students of the public schools that a uniform grading system be developed and adopted by the state board of education to be implemented in all public schools of the state. The state board of education is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the administration of this subdivision (a)(17). The comptroller of the treasury's office of research and education accountability is directed to evaluate the uniform grading system four (4) years after its implementation and to report its findings to the education committees of the senate and house of representatives. The evaluation shall include an analysis of the relationship of grade point averages to ACT and SAT scores of high school students;

(18) Develop guidelines for the establishment by LEAs of differentiated pay plans, including plans that offer bonuses, including performance bonuses, that are supplemental to the salary schedules required under SC 49-3-306. The plans shall address additional pay for teaching subjects or teaching in schools for which LEAs have difficulty hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers;

(19) Develop guidelines for the use of LEAs to foster foreign language fluency as part of holistic education for all students in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12); and

(20) Develop guidelines for the use of LEAs to strengthen personal finance standards, based on recommendations by the financial literacy commission pursuant to SC 49-6-1704, and require that certain financial literacy concepts are included as a part of the standards for social studies approved by the board.

(b) All records, reports, studies, statistics and other information and materials of the department relative to the public school system shall be available upon request to the board and its executive director and other staff personnel, except such records as may be confidential by law.

(c) Standards, policies, recommendations and actions of the board shall be subject in all cases to availability of funds as appropriated by law.

(d) (1) There is hereby created the teacher evaluation advisory committee. The committee shall consist of fifteen (15) members. The commissioner of education, the executive director of the state board of education and the chairpersons of the education committees of the senate and the house of representatives shall be members. One (1) member shall be a kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) public school teacher appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives and one (1) member shall be a kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) public school teacher appointed by the speaker of the senate. The remaining nine (9) members shall be appointed by the governor and shall consist of three (3) public school teachers, two (2) public school principals, one (1) director of a school district and three (3) members representing other stakeholders' interests; provided, that at least one (1) member of the committee shall be a parent of a currently enrolled public school student. The membership of the committee shall appropriately reflect the racial and geographic diversity of this state. The commissioner of education shall serve as the chairperson of the committee. All appointments to the teacher evaluation advisory committee shall be made within thirty (30) days of January 16, 2010. If the commissioner of education who is initially appointed to the committee as chairperson ceases to be the commissioner of education because of resignation or retirement, then such former commissioner shall remain a member of the committee until the committee ceases to exist. The total number of members of the committee shall thereby be increased to sixteen (16).

(2) (A) The committee shall develop and recommend to the board guidelines and criteria for the annual evaluation of all teachers and principals employed by LEAs, including a local level evaluation grievance procedure. This grievance procedure shall provide a means for evaluated teachers and principals to challenge only the accuracy of the data used in the evaluation and the adherence to the evaluation policies adopted pursuant to this subdivision (d)(2). Following the development of these guidelines and criteria, the board shall adopt guidelines and criteria. The evaluations shall be a factor in employment decisions, including, but not necessarily limited to, promotion, retention, termination, compensation and the attainment of tenure status.

(B) (i) Fifty percent (50%) of the evaluation criteria developed pursuant to this subdivision (d)(2) shall be comprised of student achievement data.

(ii) Thirty-five percent (35%) of the evaluation criteria shall be student achievement data based on student growth data as represented by the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS), developed pursuant to part 6 of this chapter, or some other comparable measure of student growth, if no such TVAAS data is available.

(iii) Fifteen percent (15%) shall be based on other measures of student achievement selected from a list of such measures developed by the teacher evaluation advisory committee and adopted by the board. For each evaluation, the teacher or principal being evaluated shall mutually agree with the person or persons responsible for conducting the evaluation on which such measures are employed. If the teacher or principal being evaluated does not agree with the measures used, the person or persons responsible for conducting the evaluation shall choose the evaluation measures.

(iv) Notwithstanding subdivisions (d)(2)(B)(ii) and (iii), if a particular teacher's or principal's student growth data, as described in subdivision (d)(2)(B)(ii), reflects attainment of a specific achievement level, to be recommended by the teacher evaluation advisory committee and adopted by the board, then such student growth data may, at the choice of the individual being evaluated, comprise fifty percent (50%) of their evaluation.

(v) Notwithstanding subdivision (d)(2)(B)(iv), if an individual teacher's student growth data, as described in subdivision (d)(2)(B)(ii), reflects attainment of an achievement level demonstrating an effectiveness level of above expectations or significantly above expectations as provided in the evaluation guidelines adopted by the board pursuant to this subdivision (d)(2), then such student growth data may, at the discretion of the LEA and upon request of the teacher, comprise one hundred percent (100%) of the teacher's final evaluation score. If the LEA chooses to implement this subdivision (d)(2)(B)(v), it must do so for all teachers with individual growth data who request its implementation.

(vi) Notwithstanding subdivision (d)(2)(B)(ii), for teachers without access to individual data representative of student growth as specified in subdivision (d)(2)(B)(ii), forty percent (40%) of the evaluation criteria shall be comprised of student achievement data with twenty-five percent (25%) of such criteria based on student growth data as represented by the TVAAS or some other comparable measure if no such TVAAS data is available.

(vii) The board shall have the ultimate authority to determine, identify and adopt measures of student growth that are comparable to the TVAAS.

(C) Other mandatory criteria for the evaluations shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

(i) Review of prior evaluations;

(ii) Personal conferences to include discussion of strengths, weaknesses and remediation;

(iii) Relative to teachers only, classroom or position observation followed by written assessment; and

(iv) Relative to principals only, additional criteria pursuant to SC 49-2-303(a)(1).

(3) The policies adopted pursuant to subdivision (d)(2) shall be effective no later than July 1, 2011, in order to be implemented prior to the 2011-2012 academic year. Prior to the implementation of these policies, the existing guidelines and criteria for the evaluation of certificated persons employed by LEAs shall continue to be utilized.

(4) The evaluation procedure created by this subsection (d) shall not apply to teachers who are employed under contracts of duration of one hundred twenty (120) days per school year or less or who are not employed full-time.

(5) The committee shall be subject to the governmental entity review law, compiled in title 4, chapter 29, and shall terminate on July 1, 2011.

(6) If an LEA determines that it is necessary to assign an individual to teach in an area for which the individual is not endorsed, any evaluation conducted for the course outside the area of endorsement shall relate only to the improvement of teaching skills and strategies and not a determination of competency. The board shall include as a part of its evaluation guidelines a specific reference to this use of its evaluation procedures.

(e) (1) The board shall develop and adopt rules and regulations to achieve a duty-free lunch period for all teachers, kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12), of at least the length of the student lunch period, during which time the teacher has no other assigned responsibilities.

(2) The board shall develop and adopt rules and regulations providing teachers in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) with duty-free planning periods during the established instructional day. The rules shall provide for annual reporting to the state department of LEA compliance by board policy or negotiations with a recognized professional employees' organization. At least two and one half (2 1/2) hours of planning time shall be provided each week during which teachers have no other assigned duties or responsibilities, other than planning for instruction. The two and one half (2 1/2) hours may be divided on a daily or other basis. Duty-free planning time shall not occur during any period that teachers are entitled to duty-free lunch. Any LEA that is providing a duty-free planning period by extending the school day by thirty (30) minutes as of the beginning of the 2000-2001 school year may continue that practice and satisfy the requirements of this section.

(f) All statewide tests developed or provided by the department to measure individual student progress and achievement, all banks of questions, all field testing documents used as background for the development of the tests, and all answers shall be kept confidential when and for so long as is necessary to protect the integrity of the tests.

(g) The commissioner shall recommend, and the board shall adopt, rules permitting local boards of education to operate ungraded or unstructured classes in the primary grades, kindergarten through grade three (K-3). Operation of such classes under board rules shall not impair the LEA's participation in the basic education program.

(h) The state board of education is directed to establish a limit on local costs of special education and provide for state assumption of costs in excess of this limit.

(i) The commissioner shall recommend, and the board shall adopt, rules urging each local board of education to establish reasonable, incremental goals for recruitment, employment and retention of African-American teachers in numbers that at least reflect the percentage of African-Americans within the community served by the LEA. The rules shall also urge each local board of education to develop and implement a reasonable plan of action for attaining such goals, and shall further urge that a copy of the plan be timely filed with the commissioner for evaluation and approval. The rules shall also urge periodic filing of progress reports to indicate the level of success in attaining the goals.

(j) The board shall develop guidelines and criteria for local adoption and enforcement of uniform clothing for public school students. These guidelines and criteria shall require that uniform clothing be simple, appropriate, readily available and inexpensive. The board shall disseminate these guidelines and criteria to LEAs. These guidelines and criteria can be used as a tool for LEAs that may adopt uniform clothing policies. Adoption of uniform clothing policies shall be at the discretion of the local board of education.

(k) The board may also develop guidelines and criteria for the inclusion of instruction on railroad crossing safety in appropriate grades and curricula.

(l) (1) The board, through the state department of education, shall enforce standards for:

(A) Care of children in any before or after school child care programs operated pursuant to SC 49-2-203(b)(11);

(B) Child care provided by church affiliated schools as defined by SC 49-50-801;

(C) Public school administered early childhood education programs;

(D) Child care provided in federally regulated programs including Title I preschools, all school administered head start and even start programs;

(E) State approved Montessori school programs; and

(F) Programs operated by private schools as defined by SC 49-6-3001(c)(3).

(2) (A) The board shall promulgate regulations pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, part 2, to establish standards for those programs described in subdivision (l)(1).

(B) The regulations shall provide equivalent protection for the health, safety and welfare of children, and shall use the same criteria for development of such protection as are used by the department of human services and that are set forth in SC 71-3-502(a)(3). Although the standards and regulations need not be identical in all respects, the standards and regulations shall parallel, in a substantial manner, the child care standards and regulations promulgated by the department of human services for child care agencies that the department of human services licenses.

(3) Certificates of approval shall be issued pursuant to those regulations by the commissioner of education, pursuant to part 11 of this chapter, to those child care programs that meet the standards as adopted by the board.

(4) (A) There is established a child care advisory council, which shall advise the state board of education regarding the establishment of child care standards and regulations for child care programs subject to the board's jurisdiction and to act as a hearing tribunal for appeals from actions of the state department of education regarding the certificate of approval issued to child care programs.

(B) (i) The council shall consist of a director of a local school system, a representative of a private, church related school organization as defined in SC 49-50-801, a representative from an institution of higher education with expertise in early childhood development, a parent of a child in a child care program, a coordinator of child care programs, a representative of the department of education, a representative from the child care services staff of the department of human services as designated by the state board of education, and four (4) other members as may be designated by the board of education. The council shall fairly represent the racial and ethnic composition of the state. Members shall serve until replaced by the board. The representative of the department of education shall serve as chair of the council until the council elects a chair. The chair shall sign the orders of the council regarding certificate actions taken by the council.

(ii) The council shall elect a vice chair who shall serve in the absence of the chair. If the chair resigns, is unable to perform the duties of the chair, is removed or the chair's term on the council expires, the chair of the state board of education shall appoint a new chair until the board can elect a chair. The vice chair shall have authority to sign all orders of the council in the absence of the chair and for actions of the panels under subdivision (l)(4)(E)(iii).

(C) The members of the council shall serve without reimbursement except for their travel expenses as may be established by state travel regulations.

(D) The council shall act as an advisory council to the state board of education regarding the development of child care standards for child care programs subject to the board's jurisdiction and shall review the standards on a formal basis at least every four (4) years, but may be requested more frequently by the board to conduct such further reviews as may be necessary or to otherwise provide periodic advice to the board regarding child care programs subject to the board's jurisdiction.

(E) (i) The council shall act as a hearing tribunal for all actions of the department of education regarding the denial or revocation of a certificate of approval for the operation of a child care program under the jurisdiction of the state board of education; provided, that the council shall not hear issues regarding the summary suspension of a certificate of approval, which shall be heard by a department hearing officer.

(ii) For purposes of acting as a hearing tribunal, a quorum for the hearing shall consist of a majority of the members of the council.

(iii) In order to complete the work of the council, the chair may appoint one (1) or more panels of the council with a quorum of five (5) members, at least one (1) of whom shall be randomly selected at-large members selected by the chair. The chair of the council shall appoint the chair of the panel. The panel shall have complete authority to hear any case under the council's jurisdiction and shall have complete authority to enter any necessary orders concerning certificate actions conducted before the council. Any orders of the panel shall be signed by the chair of the panel or by the council chair or vice chair.

(F) Rules for its operation as a hearing tribunal shall be adopted by the state board of education in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act.

(G) An existing member of the professional staff of the department of education shall serve as recording secretary of the council and shall assist in the arrangement of meetings of the council and the setting and processing of appeal hearings regarding certificates of approval for child care programs.

(m) The board shall develop guidelines and criteria for the inclusion of foreign language instruction in grades kindergarten through six (K-6).

(n) The board shall develop guidelines, criteria and administrative rules as necessary to assure the payment of career ladder supplements to eligible recipients so long as they remain in positions in the public schools that qualify for such supplements. The board shall notify the commissioner of finance and administration at such time as the last eligible recipient separates from service to a local board of education. At the time of the notice to the commissioner of finance and administration, all rules, regulations and policies pertaining to the career ladder program shall become void and of no effect.

History: Acts 1925, ch. 115, SC 5; 1939, ch. 11, SC 34; Shan. Supp., SC 1487a25; Code 1932, SC 2316; Acts 1933, ch. 142, SC 1; 1935, ch. 186, SC 1; 1947, ch. 96, SC 1; 1947, ch. 113, SCSC 1, 2; mod. C. Supp. 1950, SCSC 255.56, 2316 (Williams, SCSC 371.1, 2316); impl. am. Acts 1951, ch. 119, SC 1 (Williams, SC 2316a); Acts 1951, ch. 180, SC 1; modified; impl. am. Acts 1953, ch. 85, SC 1; impl. am. Acts 1955, ch. 17, SC 1; Acts 1957, ch. 160, SC 1; impl. am. Acts 1959, ch. 9, SCSC 3, 14; impl. am. Acts 1961, ch. 97, SC 3; impl. am. Acts 1965, ch. 30, SC 1; Acts 1965, ch. 44, SC 1; 1967, ch. 294, SC 1; 1972, ch. 575, SC 1; 1972, ch. 838, SC 9; 1973, ch. 80, SC 1; 1973, ch. 145, SC 1; 1974, ch. 654, SC 9; 1975, ch. 66, SC 1; 1978, ch. 932, SC 4; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SCSC 4-310, 49-107; Acts 1983, ch. 181, SC 12; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SCSC 49-108, 49-112, 49-114; Acts 1984 (1st Ex. Sess.), ch. 6, SC 4; 1984 (1st Ex. Sess.), ch. 7, SCSC 79, 93; 1985, ch. 464, SC 1; 1985, ch. 465, SC 1; 1987, ch. 287, SC 2; 1987, ch. 308, SC 10; 1988, ch. 893, SC 3; 1988, ch. 1006, SC 1; 1990, ch. 948, SCSC 1, 2; 1990, ch. 1074, SC 1; 1992, ch. 535, SCSC 2, 42, 57, 59, 60, 82; 1993, ch. 177, SC 1; 1994, ch. 805, SCSC 1, 2; 1996, ch. 935, SC 1; 1996, ch. 987, SC 1; 1998, ch. 993, SC 1; 2000, ch. 698, SC 1; 2000, ch. 981, SC 39; 2001, ch. 227, SC 1; 2002, ch. 766, SC 1; 2004, ch. 670, SCSC 3, 4; 2004, ch. 679, SC 1; 2007, ch. 367, SC 1; 2007, ch. 376, SC 5; 2008, ch. 628, SC 1; 2010 (1st Ex. Sess.), ch. 2, SC 10; 2010, ch. 911, SC 1; 2010, ch. 925, SC 2; 2011, ch. 212, SC 1; 2011, ch. 297, SC 1; 2011, ch. 304, SC 3; 2011, ch. 410, SC 4(b); 2012, ch. 925, SC 10; 2013, ch. 105, SC 1; 2013, ch. 214, SC 2.