Research News

New statewide education initiative announced; Vanderbilt will serve as research partner

By Kurt Brobeck

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist today announced the establishment of a collaboration that seeks to make education a top priority for Tennessee. The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), a nonpartisan initiative, hopes to jumpstart education reform efforts across the state. Vanderbilt will serve as a research partner to SCORE.

Frist was joined at the announcement, which occurred at Fall Hamilton Elementary School in Nashville, by Gov. Phil Bredesen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Tim Webb, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and other education, community, political and business leaders, including Vanderbilt representatives.

“Vanderbilt has been asked to serve as the research partner for this innovative effort. In this role, Peabody faculty will have the opportunity to present research on current education challenges and initiatives and to provide input on action plans that may arise out of the commission’s work,” Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, said in an e-mail announcement to Peabody College faculty.

Benbow noted that James Guthrie, professor of public policy and education and chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, will serve as Vanderbilt’s primary liaison to the collaborative and that steering committee meetings will often be held on the Vanderbilt campus.

SCORE will have several components.

A steering committee of education, community, political and business leaders from across the state will hold 10 public meetings between March and October 2009 to learn about best practices from across the country and state. The information gathered will be used to produce a strategic plan for state education reform.

Project teams will initiate statewide and local education projects dealing with such topics as teacher quality, school leadership, technology and community engagement. Project implementation will begin by the end of 2009.

SCORE will also host town hall meetings across the state to build local dialogues about the need for education reform and strategies for improving local schools.

In addition to Vanderbilt, SCORE partners include the Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Education Association, Cornerstone Foundation, Hyde Foundation, Ingram Industries, Stand for Children, Niswonger Foundation, Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee School Board Association and United Ways of Tennessee.

Media contact: Melanie Moran, 322-NEWS