Good morning and welcome to Monday!
As America prepares to mark the 50th anniversary this spring of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, Chalkbeat is helping to highlight a social justice issue related to public education. If you're in the Memphis area, join us this Thursday evening for a conversation about the business of education. In partnership with MLK50 and High Ground News, we're assembling a panel of education leaders to talk about how the business of education can be an economic driver for women- and black-owned businesses. Register here for this free "Show Mem the Money" event.
And now, on to the news!
—Marta W. Aldrich, bureau chief
PHILANTHROPIC PRIORITIES A Memphis philanthropic group that shed its Teacher Town name still plans to spend this year recruiting new teachers, while also investing in growing the city’s single-site charter operators. Chalkbeat
POVERTY IN AMERICA A Memphis woman’s tragic death in the shadow of City Hall prompts reflection: Could vacant schools help in the fight against homelessness? Chalkbeat
GRADE TAMPERING With a grade-changing scandal rocking Shelby County Schools, a state legislator from Memphis proposes legislation that would lead to criminal prosecution for illicit grade changes. Ledger
GOVERNOR’S RACE Education is the focus tomorrow night of the first statewide televised forum of this year’s gubernatorial race. USA Today Network
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSIGNMENT A nonprofit group works with students at one Memphis high school to document the history of their Whitehaven neighborhood through art and storytelling. High Ground News
GRADING SCHOOLS Hawkins County school board members say state lawmakers should halt Tennessee’s plan to start grading schools on an A-F scale this year. Kingsport Times-News
BATHROOM BILL A faith-based group pushes a bill that would require the state attorney general to either defend school systems sued over their transgender bathroom and locker room policies or fund the costs of outside counsel. Times Free Press
HARASSMENT REVIEW An internal report shows that a top Nashville schools administrator made sexually explicit comments to male and female employees on multiple occasions. The Tennessean, WSMV
CAPITAL PROJECT Outdoor portable classrooms will be a thing of the past for Knoxville’s Inskip Elementary School if the Knox County Commission approves a $5 million capital improvement project today. Knoxville News Sentinel
SNOW AND ICE A decision to delay Knox County Schools by two hours on Friday, rather than take another snow day, draws criticism from hundreds of parents concerned about safety. Knoxville News Sentinel, WBIR, WVLT
With the help of a local food bank, Nashville schools distribute emergency food boxes to students during a week of snow days. WSMV
Tullahoma schools Director Dan Lawson uses parodies of classic country music songs to announce snow days. Taste of Country
Agricultural science teachers in Rutherford County must still tend to livestock on snow days. Daily News Journal
SUMMER INTERNSHIPS Forty Chattanooga-area businesses, organizations and nonprofit groups commit to hiring Hamilton County high school students this summer for paid internships. Times Free Press
SUPERINTENDENT’S CONTRACT Williamson County’s school board extends Director Mike Looney’s contract through 2022. The Tennessean, Williamson Herald, Brentwood Patch
TAXES FOR SCHOOLS Several days into early voting, Williamson County leaders urge residents to vote “yes” on a sales tax referendum to support schools. The Tennessean
PAY ANALYSIS Administrators and principals in Bristol schools made almost double what teachers did during the 2016-17 school year, according to an analysis by the Bristol Herald Courier.
SCHOOL PRAYER A Bradley County high school is under fire for a prayer delivered over the loudspeaker before a football game. WRCB
CANINE STUDENT A Robertson County senior uses the halls of her high school to train a guide dog for the visually impaired. The Tennessean
‘THE TESTING CHARADE’ Why one Harvard professor calls the focus on testing by American schools a “charade.” Chalkbeat