Accelerating Tennessee Bus Tour arrives in Ooltewah

Tour promotes recently passed TISA Act signed by Gov. Bill Lee

OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (WDEF) — TISA, or the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act, was signed by Gov. Bill Lee just over a month ago.

The Accelerating Tennessee Bus Tour made a pit stop in Ooltewah to discuss the new state legislation that will invest a recurring one billion dollars into K-12 public education.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn believes TISA funds will only enhance student achievement in the years to come.

“It ensures and focuses on closing achievement gaps, persistent achievement gaps, that exist not just in Tennessee but across the country,” Schwinn said. “We are seeing those gaps close and because we are now funding for the needs of our individual students, I believe they will close faster than they otherwise would have.”

Tennessee’s Department of Education says the act will have students reading “proficiently by third grade,” as well as better prepare high school graduates “for postsecondary success.”

TISA is also geared to “provide resources needed for all students” to succeed, including those with special needs, those learning to speak English, those from low-income families, and more.

“I am proud that Tennessee has adopted an equitable funding formula that recognizes the barriers to learning that exist and places importance on us as a state to say all students should thrive and should have the opportunities and access to make that happen,” said Dr. Justin Robertson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.

District 11 Senator Bo Watson called the Basic Education Program an “albatross to the delegation.”

He believes TISA presents the opportunity to get the state’s education funding system “right.”

“I was really excited to watch us work the process, watch the Department of Education and the administration work with members to develop a piece of legislation that I think, if we execute it correctly, has a great opportunity to make a huge difference in Tennessee’s education system,” Watson said.

Schwinn says she’s met some “incredible students” on the tour and that TISA is a “big deal for kids.”

This is, after all, the state’s largest ever-recurring investment into public education.

She’s both excited and determined to see results in the years to come, as well as student potential realized.

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