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Recent News Mentions

This Week in Politics: Group launches campaign opposing statewide voucher expansion

11/10/23 - SOCM has organized groups in 10 counties to attend local school board meetings to become familiar with local funding and is working to engage in more counties.

Knoxville eviction court sees more than 150 cases on the docket, as uncertainty lingers for some families

10/10/23 - Eviction Court met in Knoxville on Tuesday with dozens of cases on the docket. The cases had piled up after a couple of weeks off.

Advocacy group hosts meetings for parents and community members to discuss their KCS priorities

9/21/23 - The Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment group hosted the meeting at South Knoxville Elementary School on Sept. 21.

Knox County Education Coalition holds listening sessions to collect input on schools

9/20/23 - Knox County Education Coalition, the local chapter of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, is hosting meetings to solicit input on the community's schools.

Opinion: Corporations in Tennessee must stop supporting politicians who harm communities

8/23/23 - Big companies in Tennessee have donated to politicians who have supported policies to disrupt democracy or not to act at all on half of citizens.

In Knoxville, a new apartment owner wants to double the rent. Some renters worry they’ll become homeless.

8/1/23 - About two weeks ago, Brandon Mischlich found a flyer on the door of his Knoxville, Tennessee townhouse. The flyer, distributed by a fellow renter, warned Tanglewood Apartments residents the complex’s new owners planned to almost double their rents.

Community organizers canvassing residents on commitment to fight public health

8/17/23 - Friends of a statewide group are taking the pulse of area residents to diagnose their interest in campaigning for public health, or another cause that might benefit from organizational services.

North Knoxville tenants angry after landlord doubles rent; some face homelessness

7/31/23 - Rand Property Management recently bought Tanglewood Apartments and doubled the rent, leaving some tenants worried about their future.

BLINDSIDED: I’m on the ‘verge of being homeless’ after my rent doubled without warning – but I ‘gotta keep fighting’

7/31/23 - Residents in a Tennessee apartment complex have been facing homelessness after their rent nearly doubled.

'The path to power' - Interfaith coalition pushes for more local funding in Memphis for literacy

7/16/23 - Members of the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope say that investment earlier in a student's academic journey could help prevent low test results.

East TN parents protest 3rd-grade retention law

7/16/23 - Some parents in East Tennessee were protesting against the state’s third-grade retention law on Saturday at Market Square.

Tennessee parents to protest for changes to third-grade retention law

7/14/23 - Concerned parents and others across the state are calling on lawmakers to change the new third-grade retention law.

Bad 'Health Problems' Aired, Lawyer Has Recommendations

7/12/23 - Over six years, Rocky and Betsy Stone of Summertown have led the citizens’ quarterly meetings in nearby Brace Community Church. They’ve collected written complaints about what’s used to grow crops by no-till farmers; often about Paraquat, a brand of defoliant used to protect crops against weeds. It’s manufactured by Syngenta, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ChemChina.

Overcoming the 'Goliath' of paying rent while a petition strives to help local renters

5/30/23 - When paying rent turns into an uphill battle, finding resources and getting familiar with tenants' rights can help. WBIR connects the dots on housing.

TCAP appeals window opens as families of third graders try to avoid being held back

5/29/23 - The fallout from Tennessee’s third grade standardized testing rules enters a new phase Tuesday, as families can begin appealing to the state to ask that students be advanced to fourth grade...At a recent virtual community meeting, parent Brandy Jenkins said she’d be appealing on behalf of her daughter, and noted the toll that testing has had on the class of students who also happen to be the group who saw their kindergarten year interrupted by the pandemic.

'My kid is devastated': Mom says third-grade son missed passing TCAP test by one question

5/26/23 - Parents of Tennessee third graders are angry, sad, exhausted and confused following the release of reading scores.
Thursday, those parents had a chance to air their frustration during a virtual meeting held by Statewide Organization for Community Empowerment, and to begin discussing the impact a new third grade retention law is having on families across Tennessee. The state said 60% of third graders failed to meet proficiency on the English language arts section of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.

Frustrated parents speak during advocacy meeting on third-grade retention

5/25/23 - The meeting was hosted by the Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, or SOCM, group.

'The state failed our children' -- Letters, calls and emails go unanswered by TN lawmakers

5/23/23 - To date, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment group members, parents, teachers, and community members sent more than 2,900 letters to the state legislature telling lawmakers the third-grade retention law was a bad idea.

Biden seeks to tighten regulation of toxic power plant coal waste dumps

5/17/23 - The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed expanding the number of coal waste dumps that would be subject to environmental oversight, a decade after a string of toxic disasters from such landfills flooded valleys and polluted rivers in Southern states.

Grassroots Organization Introduced Itself with Day on the Lake

5/16/23 - The Statewide Organization for Community eMpowerment’s (SOCM) Rutherford County branch sponsored a Community Kayaking Day on the Lake on May 13 at the Jefferson Springs Recreation Area.

Public comment sought on future of Kingston Fossil Plant site

5/12/23 - The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking for public input on the future of the Kingston Fossil Plant site.
The TVA released on Friday that it wants public input on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement which has options for the Kingston Fossil Plant’s retirement, demolition and replacement. Between May 19 and July 3, the public can comment on issues, questions and concerns related to the proposed project, TVA says.

TVA holds public hearing

5/9/23 - TVA's board held a listening session on May 9 as part of the board's quarterly meeting process. One community member shared concerns about the future of the area near the Bull Run Steam plant.

After heated debates, Knox County school board approves new all-boys charter school

4/27/23 - Despite a first vote that failed for Knox Prep charter school earlier this month, the Knox County school board on its second try approved the school with a 5-4 vote split.

School board bans speakers from re-vote on charter school

4/27/23 - Folks who oppose an all-boys charter school operated with public funds by folks from Chattanooga are holding a sidewalk press conference at 4 p.m. today (4/27/23) prior to a called meeting of the Knox County school board. The parents and educators will urge the board to reject the proposed charter.

ACA Charter School Application Fails Vote by Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board

4/26/23 - The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System school board voted 6 to1 to deny the American Classical Academy charter school's application that would establish a free public charter school in the county.

Charter Schools Affiliated with Hillsdale College Were Up for a Vote in Middle Tennessee. Here's How it Went.

4/25/23 - School boards across Middle Tennessee this week have made decisions about a charter school connected to Hillsdale College.

Charter School Rejected Again by Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board

4/25/23 - For the second year in a row, the CMCSS school board has chosen to deny American Classical Academy Montgomery’s application.

American Classical Academy Charter School Applications Up for Vote Tuesday

4/25/23 - Will American Classical Academy finally come to Tennessee? In 2022, the answer was no.

American Classical Academy Charter School Vote at Rutherford Co School Board Meeting

4/25/23 - The school board voted to accept the charter school, a Hillsdale College affiliate, to the Rutherford County Schools system during the meeting.

No Changes to Retention Law for this Year's Third Graders, Despite Months of Pressure from Parents and Educators

4/20/23 - Tennessee’s legislature has tweaked its law aimed at improving third grade literacy. But the changes won’t take effect until next school year, and even then, they’re far from an overhaul. That means this year’s third graders will face the consequences of a law that parents, teachers and school district officials have spent months fighting to change.

Charter School American Classical Academy Makes Second Try at Opening Location in Clarksville

4/17/23 - For the second year in a row, a charter school supported by Gov. Bill Lee has applied to open in Montgomery County.

Knox County Schools Votes Down a Charter School. Here's Why it May Still Be Open

4/7/23 - Following a heated discussion, a new charter school failed to win approval from the Knox County school board, but Knox Prep could still open anyway because of how the voting was handled.

Charter school application does not pass Knox Co. Board of Education

4/6/23 - Board members said they found several deficiencies in the charter school's application. However, proposals to list the reasons it failed also failed.

'To build the leaders of tomorrow' | Here's how charter schools and traditional schools differ

4/5/23 - On Thursday, the Knox County Board of Education is expected to vote on whether to allow an all-boys charter school to open its doors in the county.

What is the future of Middle Tennessee’s trash?

4/4/23 - We’re less than a decade away from maximum capacity at Middle Point landfill in Rutherford County, where Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s trash goes. [SOCM Member Dr. Jeremy Aber is an interview guest]

A law that could hold back thousands of third graders in Tennessee is getting some revisions, but not as many as educators had hoped for.

3/15/23 - Some lawmakers, parents and educators had hoped for a host of changes to Tennessee’s third-grade retention law before it takes effect this spring. But only a handful of tweaks are currently moving forward in the state legislature.

TN lawmakers propose 19 amendments to third-grade retention law, a month before test-time

3/6/23 - In April, students across Tennessee will need to take a state test. That test could determine if they pass the third grade, or if they need to repeat it.

Parents advocate to change 3rd-grade law

3/5/23 - Lawmakers will debate the third-grade retention law amendments in the House K-12 subcommittee on Tuesday.

State should spend $454M on reading skills instead of retention

2/28/23 - Letter to the editor from the Rutherford County Democrats Care Committee published in the Murfreesboro Post.

Unpacking Tennessee third grad retention law

2/23/23 - More than 60% of Tennessee third graders could be at risk of being held back this year

64% of county's 3rd graders at risk of being held back under new state law

2/21/23 - “SOCM decided to make one of their goals last year to support and encourage our public school system, because we feel like they’re being attacked and blamed for a lot of things that they are not responsible for,” Lewis said.

Advocacy ramps up over 3rd grade retention law

2/19/23 - [Chae] Wells is among the parents around the state who have sprung into action, advocating for a change in the law, and who have been inspired by the efforts of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, or SOCM, a civic engagement organization that has helped lead the charge in rallying opponents of the law.

Nashville parents rally over third-grade retention law

2/10/23 - The legislation has sparked statewide bipartisan criticism, and lawmakers have introduced 18 bills addressing the issue

EPA rule prompted by Kingston coal ash spill might be revised to include older landfills

2/9/23 - A lawsuit seeks to get the EPA to close a loophole in the law that now exempts inactive coal ash landfills from the kind of regulations active coal ash landfills must meet.

Parents flooded public meetings on Tennessee's 3rd grade retention law. Now they're taking action.

2/9/23 - In the pews of Woodbine United Methodist Church on Wednesday night, dozens of parents and educators chanted, “Our students are more than a test.”

Concerned Nashville parents organize town hall to oppose third grade retention law

2/8/23 - Starting this school year, third graders who score below proficient on the state's English language arts test may have to repeat the school year if they don’t participate in programs to get caught up on reading.

Concerns grow over TN law that fails students who do not pass standardized tests

2/8/23 - According to the Tennessee Department of Education, under this current law, more than half of third graders could be held back.

Nashville parents hold meeting discussing needed changes to 3rd grade retention law

2/8/23 - Several third-grade parents are concerned and upset over the state’s retention law that would hold students back who do not pass the English and Language Arts portion of the TCAP exam.

Nashville parents organize town hall on Feb. 8 to change third grade retention

2/6/23 - A group of outraged and concerned Nashville parents have joined the Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment's statewide campaign to change the third grade retention law.

Pollutant discharge permit sought as closure of Bull Run looms

1/13/23 - Tennessee Valley Authority leaders are aiming to shut down the Bull Run Fossil Plant by the end of 2023. Before it happens, dozens were at a meeting Thursday night in Oak Ridge learning more about an updated National Pollutant Discharge Eliminiation System (NPDES) permit.

'Don't fix it if it isn't broken' | Two state bills seek to change third-grade retention law

1/12/23 - Two state lawmakers filed back-to-back bills to change a law that has the potential to hold a large portion of third-graders back across Tennessee.

Glade Rotary hears about work of SOCM

1/12/23 - At a recent meeting of the Fairfield Glade Rotary Club, Jean Cheely and Adam Hughes presented information about the 50-year old Statewide Organization for Community eMpowerment.

Parents, school officials say third grade reading law may have unintended consequences

1/8/23 - Kingsport City Schools and other systems across Tennessee may have to deal with the logistics of a larger-than-expected third grade for 2023-24, coupled with a smaller-than-projected fourth grade.


2020 - 2022 press mentions

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