A 2015 Vanderbilt University study found that the disadvantaged children who attended Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) were significantly better prepared for kindergarten than those who did not attend. [6] However, that study, as well as research conducted by TDOE, found wide variation in quality among VPK classrooms, as well as in K – 3rd grade classrooms.

These studies have identified specific instructional practices which are ripe for improvement. This information, together with the fact that the majority of Tennessee’s third graders are not proficient in reading and math, point to an urgent need to address the quality of instruction in the early grades, Pre-k through 3rd grade.

Our priorities for improving teaching and learning in the early grades are that Tennessee will:

  • Expand the use of high quality early childhood curriculum in pre-k through third grade, aligned to Tennessee’s newly revised academic standards;
  • Strengthen teacher training and professional development to ensure Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers have content knowledge, coupled with the knowledge and skills to effectively teach young children;
  • Build leader knowledge of high quality early childhood instructional standards, and support leaders in their ability to translate that knowledge to assess and support effective early grades teaching practices;
  • Build on the momentum created by the 2016 Pre-K Quality Act and double down on pre-k quality improvement efforts.
Did you know?

90% of Tennesseans agree that ensuring every classroom has a high performing teacher would do a lot to prepare a child for success in school and life.

Learn More

During this current legislative session through April 2018, our specific legislative agenda items are to:

Proven Results

You're Making a Difference

We’re proud to champion Tennessee’s Early Childhood Education needs and we’re making a difference! Take a moment to review the results form our recent poll. There’s always more to be done so we thank you in advance for joining us and helping strengthen further!


PreK Quality

Preserved PreK for xx,000 4-year olds while insisting on quality in EVERY classroom.

Parent Engagement

Launched new academic parent-teacher partnerships.


Defended aligned assessments and kindergarten portfolio as critical tools for monitoring and improving student progress.

Great Teachers & Leaders

Initiated two vital and actionable studies with Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Department of Education to drive improvements in early grades instruction.

#MyEarlyEducation to support the Tennesseens for Quality Early Education
Get Involved! Support Early Education and Join Our Coalition