Skip to Content

Mayor's Education Initiatives

The administration is committed to strengthening Nashville’s public schools, supporting our teachers, and ensuring all students from every neighborhood have access to high-quality educational experiences. This commitment includes an emphasis on teacher quality, school leadership, fair compensation, and a supportive working and learning environment. It recognizes the importance of working with business and philanthropic partners to promote early childhood literacy and parental engagement, as well as the importance of pathways to careers and jobs.

Programs and Initiatives

Delivering a cost-of-living pay increase for teachers

One of Mayor John Cooper’s first accomplishments was to find funding to deliver a 3-percent COLA increase for teachers effective January 1, 2020.

Mayor Cooper Announces 3 Percent Cost-of-Living-Adjustment for Teachers

The COLA will be made permanent through future work with the Metro Council.

Boosting teacher pay and cultivating teacher and principal talent

Nothing contributes more to student learning than effective teaching. In recognition of this fact, the Mayor’s Office is working with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and the Nashville Public Education Foundation to better understand the causes of teacher attrition and the challenge of teacher recruitment. It’s the first step toward delivering on the Mayor’s commitment to boost teacher pay as part of a comprehensive strategy of attracting and retaining the best teachers for our students.

Fair pay for teachers is the first step toward delivering a quality education for our children. But it’s only a first step. In the months to come, the Mayor’s Office intends to work with MNPS, the State, nonprofits, local businesses, and local universities to ensure that our teachers have best-in-class training and support. Another important focus is principal development. Effective principals are one of the single most important factors in attracting and retaining gifted teachers.

Public Schools Expert Compensation Study

Mayor John Cooper’s Office in partnership with the Nashville Public Education Foundation and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), commissioned an expert compensation study of teacher compensation in Nashville-Davidson County. The goal is to ensure that our children have excellent teachers which is the single most important thing we can do to improve education.

Mayor Cooper Announces Expert Compensation Study of Teacher Pay

Early childhood literacy

The Mayor’s Office has joined a community-wide effort to address Nashville’s literacy challenges. According to “the Blueprint for Early Childhood Success,” 34 percent of MNPS 3rd graders cannot read proficiently at grade level. Students. This downstream results of this are deeply concerning. The research suggests they include an increased high school drop-out rate, limited career opportunities, and increased involvement in the criminal justice system. Supporting a renewed push to improve childhood reading is a top priority for the Mayor’s Office and for Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood. In conjunction with such partners as the United Way, MNPS, the Nashville Public Library, the Nashville Public Library Foundation, the Center for Nonprofit Management, and other local partners to address this foundational challenge.

Extended Learning/After-School Options

Learning shouldn’t end when school is dismissed. More than 70 percent of our students live in families living below the federal poverty level. The hours after school are both missed opportunities for learning and reinforcing lessons taught in school. They are also the hours that kids get into the most trouble if left unsupervised. Deputy Mayor Haywood is working to increase the availability of after-school programs and increase the supply of high-quality educational options during the summer in order to address the issue of “summer melt.”

Reducing disparities

Forty percent of MNPS students are students of color, yet students of color make up 60 percent of the kids who are suspended. Addressing this disparate treatment is one of Deputy Mayor Haywood’s top priorities. The Mayor’s Office is working with MNPS’s Passage program to find more effective ways to reduce this and other racial disparities. It’s an important first step to improving equity across MNPS.

Nashville GRAD

Individuals who earn an associate’s degree earn nearly one-third more over their lifetime than those with just a high school degree. By 2020, 60 percent of jobs will require some post-secondary education and training. Yet many high school graduates encounter barriers that prevent them from matriculating in and completing associate degree and other college degrees. Transportation challenges, text book costs, and cultural barriers contribute to the fact that only a quarter of MNPS graduates who enroll in Nashville State Community College students – a quarter of all MNPS graduates – earn an associate’s degree within six years time. The Nashville GRAD program addresses will address these challenges by providing financial assistance and mentoring to full-time students pursuing higher education in Davidson County.

Nashville GRAD Program Information