Students Lend Their Insight to Issues Facing Public Education

Students from all three Cheatham County High Schools joined approximately 342 of their peers in Murfreesboro on March 10 to express their views on public education in Tennessee at the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE). The event took place on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

Attending from Cheatham County were: William Angeles and Ansley Pfeffer from Cheatham County Central High, Gracie Butler and Chelsea Stricklin from Sycamore High, and Halee McKaskle and Mallary McKaskle from Harpeth High. Kathryn VanMater (CCCHS), Lee Rector (HHS) and Maggie Fields (SHS) were chaperones.

Now in its 38th year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed. Attendees participated in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. School board members, superintendents, and educational leaders led the sessions.

Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues. This year’s four debate topics and results from the poll were:

  1. Cyberbullying shall be a zero-tolerance offense. (Agree: 13%, Disagree: 87%)

  2. The Uniform Grading Scale shall be adjusted to the traditional format. (Agree: 43%, Disagree: 57%)

  3. Students with perfect attendance shall be exempt from final exams. (Agree: 27%, Disagree: 73%)

  4. The school calendar shall be adjusted to a year-round schedule. (Agree: 42%, Disagree: 58%)

SCOPE delegates elected 2021 SCOPE officers and they are:

  • President: Drew Piper, Forrest High School, Marshall County

  • 1st Vice President: Maya Pound, Center for Creative Arts, Hamilton County

  • 2nd Vice President: Kylei Honea, Columbia Central High School, Maury County

The Tennessee School Boards Association was organized in 1939 to provide a united voice in education for local public school boards. In 1953, the State Legislature officially recognized TSBA as the “organization and representative agency of the members of school boards in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association is a service organization to all the state’s school boards. It serves as an advocate for the interests of Tennessee’s public school students and school districts and provides in-service training and assistance for the state’s 983 board of education members.

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