Rise & Shine: How MLK’s killing changed lives and classrooms 50 years ago

Good morning!

One week from today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis. To mark the event, Chalkbeat wanted to know: How did students react when the civil rights leader was killed? How did teachers respond? What was the mood like in Memphis schools during the days before and after? To find out, we spoke with four people who were students and educators at the time. In a Chalkbeat Special Report, we relive those days in their own words.

Now on to this week's news — and there's a lot. Read on!

—Marta W. Aldrich


MLK50  Memphis teachers and students recall how the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. changed their lives and classrooms. A Chalkbeat Special Report

CURVEBALL  The lawmaker behind a high-profile bill to arm Tennessee teachers with handguns is being urged to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct, calling into question the future of his legislation. Chalkbeat, WSMV, The Tennessean, Nashville Public Radio

RISK OF CLOSURE  With one Memphis elementary school facing closure, some parents hope to form a K-8 school, but others aren’t sold on the idea. Chalkbeat

READING CURRICULUM  Shelby County Schools will invest nearly $9 million in its elementary reading curriculum in an effort to boost literacy.  The Commercial Appeal

CENTRAL OFFICE  Superintendent Dorsey Hopson gets a step closer toward moving the Memphis headquarters of Shelby County Schools. Memphis Daily News

BIG GREEN  Eighth-graders at a Memphis middle school plant the 100th Big Green learning garden in Shelby County since 2015. The Commercial Appeal

MARCH TO MEMPHIS  Black and white students from Mississippi will march 50 miles to Memphis to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Mississippi News Now

PROPOSED BUDGET  Nashville teachers could get a raise under the latest budget proposal from Director Shawn Joseph, while some support positions will be eliminated. The Tennessean, WSMV, WKRN, WZTZ

NO FREE LUNCH  Nashville’s district is set to scale back a popular program that provides free lunch to all of its students. The Tennessean

CHARTER SCHOOLS  Tennessee names 40 charter schools that will receive a total of nearly $2.3 million to help pay for facilities. The Chattanoogan, Winchester Herald Chronicle 

TNREADY ACCOUNTABILITY  The state Senate Education Committee is scheduled to consider a bill today that could lower the impact of TNReady test scores on student grades. Lebanon Democrat, WSMV

TRANSGENDER LITIGATION  A bill directing Tennessee’s attorney general to either defend approve funds for private attorneys to represent schools sued over their transgender policies clears its first legislative hurdle. Times Free Press, Nashville Public Radio

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT  Two corporal punishment bills advance in the House. WJHL

THOU SHALT  Cumberland County’s school board votes to keep the Ten Commandments posted in some schools. Crossville Chronicle

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH  Three finalists are chosen for the job of leading Jefferson County schools. The Standard Banner

STATE AUDIT  Tennessee’s comptroller identifies “significant deficiencies” in Maury County’s financial system, especially for its public schools. Columbia Daily Herald

SCHOOL FUNDING  Maury County’s school board will ask county commissioners for $18 million to build a new elementary school. Columbia Daily Herald

GREEN HAM  Social media images and allegations that Unicoi County high school students were served spoiled green ham prompts a surprise cafeteria visit by state health inspectors. Johnson City Press

FOOD FOR THOUGHT  When families receive food stamps, their kids’ test scores tick up within a matter of weeks, according to a new study out of North Carolina. Chalkbeat

REMEMBERING LINDA BROWN  Her name became part of American history through the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. In the wake of Linda Brown’s death, here’s her story in her own words. Chalkbeat