Tennessee education department announces $2M for educator training programs

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Aspiring teachers attending seven universities across the state will be able to apply for limited full scholarships, thanks to a $2 million allocation by the Tennessee Department of Education through it’s Grow Your Own teacher education program.

Funded by Grow Your Own grants, university educator training programs partner with school districts to provide tuition-free education for aspiring teachers. Participants work as education assistants at placements in partner school districts, learning under qualified teacher mentors. The program was initiated with an eye to increasing access and removing barriers to the teaching profession.

“The Grow Your Own initiative will expand across the state and support hundreds of individuals to become teachers for free – while employed in our Tennessee school districts,” Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said. “Right now, it could not be more important to remove barriers to the teaching profession, and I am proud of the way our state is coming together to continue preparing great teachers in innovative ways.”

The $2 million investment will support teacher training and associated placements in 35 school districts across the state and enable 262 aspiring teachers to receive training, classroom experience and a teacher license at no cost.

The competitive grant awards will expand existing Grow Your Own programs at Austin Peay State University, Lipscomb University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus, and initiate programs at Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

“UTC is thrilled to be selected as one of the Grow Your Own awardees and thankful to the Tennessee Department of Education for the award,” said School of Education Director Renee Murley, of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Between 1971 and 2017, the number of graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in education dropped by 51 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Tennessee


Middle Tennessee vs. FIU odds: 2020 college football picks, Week 6 predictions from proven model

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A Conference USA battle is on tap Saturday between the FIU Panthers and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at 4 p.m. ET at Riccardo Silva Stadium. FIU is 0-1, while MTSU is 0-4. The Blue Raiders are 4-0 against the spread in their last four conference games. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 6-0 against the spread in their last six games following a bye week.

The Panthers are favored by six-points in the latest FIU vs. Middle Tennessee odds from William Hill, and the over-under is set at 57. Before you make any Middle Tennessee vs. FIU picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $4,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread It is a sizzling 20-3 on top-rated picks through five weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning over $1,300 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Middle Tennessee vs. FIU. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college football odds from William Hill and trends for FIU vs. Middle Tennessee:

  • Middle Tennessee vs. FIU spread: FIU -6
  • Middle Tennessee vs. FIU over-under: 57 points
  • Middle Tennessee vs. FIU money line: FIU -215, Middle Tennessee +180

What you need to know about Middle Tennessee

The Blue Raiders were close to their first victory of the season, but allowed a game-clinching touchdown to Western Kentucky with six minutes remaining in a 20-17 loss. Asher O’Hara threw a 2-yard TD pass to CJ Windham with just over two minutes remaining, but a Middle Tennessee onside


Tennessee, Miami take big swings

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Enough talking about whether Texas is back.

Time to talk about whether Tennessee and Miami are back!

Like the Longhorns, the Volunteers and Hurricanes are programs with national championship pedigrees that have been lost in the college football wilderness for about two decades, searching for past glory and relevance.

Both are showing early season signs of being dark horse contenders in their conferences and face foes Saturday who are where they aspire to be.

The 14th-ranked Volunteers are at No. 3 Georgia and No. 7 Miami visits No. 1 Clemson.

The Vols faithful are as hopeful as they have been in years. Tennessee has won eight straight games, the longest active streak in the Southeastern Conference. That streak includes zero victories against ranked teams, but this is a program that is on its fourth coach since it last had a double-digit win season (2007).

Jeremy Pruitt’s progress has been good enough to earn 15 victories and a contract extension two games into his third season. The Volunteers look like a very different team under Pruitt than they ever did for his predecessor. Butch Jones was 13-14 in his first 27 games with the Volunteers and headed toward the first of two consecutive nine-win seasons. Pruitt is now 15-12.

Yearly games against Alabama and Georgia have been stark reminders of how far the Volunteers have to go to get back to the national championship contention days of the late 1990s. The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings 122-26.

“We’ve continued to improve over the last three years,” Pruitt said. “We’re nowhere near where we want to be.”

Miami’s last national championship was in 2001. Since then, it has won just one Atlantic Coast Conference division title, back in 2017. That surprising run to playoff contention and No. 2 in the


Tennessee school voucher program unconstitutional Appeals Court rules

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Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account program took another hit Tuesday, with the Tennessee Court of Appeals upholding a lower court’s decision that the controversial plan is unconstitutional. 

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeals upheld a previous decision by Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Anne Martin, who ruled against the school-voucher law because it only applies to Memphis and Nashville. 

The state attorney general quickly appealed that decision, hoping to kick off the program with the 2020-21 school year, but the courts blocked the state from receiving applications and preparing for the program’s kickoff for this academic year.

PREVIOUSLY: Judge rules Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account program unconstitutional

In its appeal, the state argued that education policy is the state’s responsibility — and that the local constitutional protections, known as “home rule,” don’t apply in this case. Martin had ruled that the law violated the home rule provision since the legislature imposed the program on just two counties without their say. 

The program would allow students in Davidson and Shelby school districts to attend private schools and pay for it, in part, by with public funds. The General Assembly passed the controversial law in 2019 over the objections of officials in Davidson and Shelby counties. The education savings account program is one of Lee’s signature education initiatives.

After a remote hearing in May, Martin ruled the state could no longer accept applications and ordered the program’s website to say that applications were closed, and since the program’s fate was undetermined, parents should seek a backup plan. Even returning a phone call or email about the program was prohibited. 

In June, the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case directly. 

RELATED: Tennessee can’t launch Education Savings Account program while appeal is pending, court says

Opponents say


What Jeremy Pruitt said after Tennessee football beat South Carolina

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No. 21 Tennessee football held on to beat South Carolina 31-27 in its season-opener on Saturday night.

Here is everything Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt said after UT won its seventh game in a row:

“I’m tickled to death that we won. But, first off, I want to really compliment the way South Carolina played, the way they competed. They never quit. It’s just the ball bounced our way a couple of times. And it’s a shame right now that, with what all these young men are going through, that there has to be a winner and a loser. I think, by everybody getting to play tonight, (it) absolutely was a win for some of these guys, and I’m glad that we got a chance to do that. I’m proud of our players. I’m proud of our staff, everybody in our organization.

“When you start thinking about what all these young men at every college has done since March: They go home. Some of them were called back in June. Some of them were called back in July, depending on the university. Maybe some of them were called back in August. But when they came back, they were facing something that we knew nothing about. And the courage that it took for these young men to come back, not knowing what tomorrow holds, the faith that they’ve had in all the institutions that they represent.


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“When you look at the social injustice that has went across our country and to see the courage that the players on our team, the players on the other teams — it’s inspiring to me, this generation of young men and women that are really fighting the fight. It’s encouraging for the future of our country to me.

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