The 2017 results of  TennesseeCAN’s annual survey of statewide Tennessee superintendents are in. Here’s what they had to say.

Today, TennesseeCAN released the 2017 results of its annual survey of statewide K-12 district leaders, uncovering important perceptions and opinions among Tennessee superintendents about key education issues affecting students.

While district leaders perceive the state of education in Tennessee to be in good shape, they also identified several areas that need work in order to meet needs and improve student outcomes.

“More and more district leaders are engaging and pointing out the assets we have in our education systems as well as areas that need attention from policy makers,” said Charlie Bufalino, Director of Policy and Strategy at TennesseeCAN. “While our district leaders perceive that the state of education in Tennessee continues to improve, it is clear that as a state, we need to focus in on crafting policies that address student and teacher outcomes and break down important barriers to success.”

The majority of district leaders perceive the state of education in Tennessee to be improving, with greater percentages of respondents ranking it “excellent” (12%) and “good” (69%) compared to 2016.

When asked about limitations or constraints that hinder student outcomes, district leaders ranked highest budget (83%) and staffing (69%) as perceived impediments to student success. This year, scheduling ranked third, increasing by 9% since 2016.

Importantly, 79% of district leaders do not believe they receive adequate funding for special needs students. Further, a majority of district leaders (45%) support the idea of weighting funding based on student need for at-risk categories of students, though 34% of respondents were “unsure” or noted that they needed more information to decide.

When it comes to instructional time, 69% of district leaders believe that teachers do not have enough time in the school day to meet student needs, and 72% would support extending the school day and/or year if given the necessary resources to do so.

Surveys were administered in late July/early August 2017 via emailed survey to all current Tennessee Directors of Schools.

Full survey results are posted on the TennesseeCAN website:


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