BEHIND THE SCENES While many Tennesseans are still unfamiliar with President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to oversee the nation’s schools, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos already has quietly influenced the state’s contentious tug-of-war over a school voucher program. Chalkbeat

SPECIAL ED VOUCHERS The Tennessee Department of Education names the first private schools eligible to accept taxpayer money to educate students with disabilities under a new state voucher program. Chalkbeat

GRADING THE SUPERINTENDENT The Shelby County Schools board issued a mostly positive review of their superintendent for last school year, naming community relationships as one of his strengths and staff relationships as an area for improvement. The Commercial Appeal

PROPOSAL PUSHED Shelby County Schools board members think the holiday season may push a vote on a proposal to close seven schools and build three new ones to February. Chalkbeat, Memphis Daily News, WBRC-TV, The Commercial Appeal

PRE-K FUNDING Tennessee will receive $17.4 million from federal grants to continue expanding access to high-quality preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families. The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA CRASH The attorney for the driver in a deadly Chattanooga school bus crash says her client will likely plead not guilty. WQAD-TV

SCHOOL CLOSURES Closed schools and the idea of building new schools were the topics of heated discussion at a meeting between members of the Madison County Commission and the Jackson-Madison County School Board. The Jackson Sun

SCHOOL VOUCHERS The Republican lawmaker who has been behind bills that would allow school vouchers in Tennessee believes the makeup of the new General Assembly could lead to the passage of long-stalled legislation. The Tennessean

COATS NEEDED A clothing drive is being launched for Memphis students in need of winter coats. WATN-TV

FOREST FIRE Due to the forest fire burning in eastern Tennessee, several schools announce they will remain closed. Knoxville News Sentinel, Chattanooga Times Free Press

MORE DEVOS Six things to know about Indiana’s school voucher program, a possible model for U.S. Education Cheif nominee Betsy DeVos. Chalkbeat

ANOTHER ASD Nevada state education officials are focused on clearing up what they view as misconceptions about the new Achievement School District that will convert as many as six underperforming schools into charters next year. Las Vegas Review-Journal