Tennessee’s education progress has slipped. Specific steps can turn it around (The Tennessean)

THE TENNESSEAN | By Bill Frist, MD and David Mansouri

A decade ago, the nonprofit State Collaborative for Reforming Education, or SCORE, began collaborating with Tennessee’s leaders, educators, and community and education advocates to make Tennessee one of the fastest-improving states in the nation.

Children in Tennessee today have better opportunities for success in college and career than any Tennesseans in history, and we are proud of the state’s unprecedented progress in student achievement. But as SCORE enters its second decade of service and releases our newest State of Education in Tennessee report, we want to see our students climb higher and faster.

From 2011 to 2017, Tennessee students made historic gains in national math and reading achievement, reaching as high as 34th or 35th in the nation. A few years earlier, we had been as low as 46th. Students in urban, suburban and rural areas all saw improvements. …

Read more at The Tennessean: https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2019/03/11/how-to-reverse-tennessee-education-progress-declines/2919556002/

Nashville Health Care Council Fellows

“What we witnessed is bipartisan dialogue, exposure to world-known individuals, new methods of learning, strategies and tactics I have put to use, and a consistent and engaging forum for dialogue. I consider this class one of the single most important investments I have made in myself.” -Laura Beth Brown, Vice President, Vanderbilt Health Services, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Fellows Class of 2013

Nashville is a one-of-a-kind city.  It is a melting pot of music, culture, people, and healthcare, the often-neglected facet of Nashville, despite being Nashville’s biggest industry.  In Middle Tennessee alone, there are 250 healthcare companies, 16 public companies, $70 billion in global revenue, and 400,000 global jobs, making the “Athens of the South” also the Silicon Valley of Healthcare.  While other cities throughout the country can meet those numbers, none other can beat the unprecedented collaboration, one-of-a-kind innovation and implementation, and combined expertise of current healthcare leaders.

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Recently, I developed and began teaching a course in conjunction with the Nashville Health Care Council.  In the ever-changing industry of healthcare, what worked yesterday or today does not translate into what will work tomorrow, which many of these students have already come to realize with their existing experiences.  The only way we can combat the upcoming tough challenges of the healthcare industry is for the leaders of today to come together and train the leaders of tomorrow to face challenges in the context of privately-held start ups all the way to publicly-traded companies through innovative collaboration.  Together, we can develop strong solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow.

Nashville Health Care Council Fellows Dinner on June 28, 2013. by Donn Jones.

To adequately teach this course on collaboration, I had to collaborate myself, so my colleagues from the healthcare industry of Nashville came together with me to create and teach the innovative curriculum.  The healthcare legacy needs to be carried on, and I hope that the future leaders from this Fellow course will launch themselves with the skills needed to think outside the box and collaborate to solve healthcare’s toughest problems, all while bettering themselves, their companies, and, ultimately, their communities.

 

3 ways to fix America’s child poverty problem

(The Week, February 28, 2012)

By Bill Frist, M.D.

One in five American children suffers through extreme financial hardship. It doesn’t have to be that way

Americans hear a lot about decline. Declines in manufacturing, fading productivity, plummeting home values, spiralling deficits, and sadly, dwindling faith in the American dream.

Let me tell you where I see the worst decline — but also our nation’s best hope.

One in five kids in America lives in poverty. That’s 20 percent of America’s future left behind. Left to drop out of high school, suffer through shorter lives, commit crimes, have a child in their teens — and then perpetuate this cycle with their own children.

With better education, kids live longer, earn more, wait longer to have a child, and are less likely to commit a crime.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Imagine an America with 20 percent fewer high school dropouts, 20 percent fewer teen pregnancies, and a 20 percent reduction in chronic health problems like diabetes and hypertension. Picture an America with a workforce that is 20 percent more productive and packed with 20 percent more qualified job applicants. Dream of an America with 20 percent more middle-class citizens. We would be a country poised to soar.

So how do we get there?

The fastest route out of poverty lies with education. With better education, kids live longer, earn more, wait longer to have a child, and are less likely to commit a crime. More importantly, these benefits pass on to their children, snapping the cruel cycle of poverty.

Poverty, especially during formative early years, can be an enormous hurdle for a child’s development. At U.S. schools where less than 10 percent of the student body is impoverished, reading scores rank first in the world. Yet these same scores for U.S. schools where 75 percent or more of the student body is impoverished rank 45th.

In a country with a failing K-12 school system, is it really possible to improve education for impoverished children? Yes, and here are three ways: Providing a boost for kids, lending a hand to parents, and pulling together crumbling neighborhoods.

First, we must start young, much younger than you might think. Most poor children are already behind on their first day of school. At age 4, poor children are 18 months behind developmentally, and without access to early education, kids are 25 percent more likely to drop out of high school.

Communities must target vigorous pre-K education and daycare programs for the one in five kids whose parents simply can’t afford them. Soft skills such as sharing, negotiation, reason, and concentration are instilled between finger-painting and building with blocks. The critical ingredient of high expectations is introduced. These are not luxury goods. They are essential in making communities more prosperous. When states think about job training, they should begin with pre-K education.

 

This article was originally featured in The Week http://theweek.com/article/index/224906/3-ways-to-fix-americas-child-poverty-problem