Blake Farmer

The Tennessee legislature is in horse trading mode as it nears final votes on Governor Bill Haslam's signature infrastructure funding bill, which includes a gas tax increase along with cuts to taxes on groceries and manufacturing. Passage will almost certainly require the help of Democrats. And minority party leaders have decided to offer their votes in exchange for support of an educational endowment.

State education officials are dubbing the first day of standardized testing in Tennessee schools "nearly flawless."

Without a doubt, day one went more smoothly than last year. In 2016, computer glitches were followed by printing problems for the paper backups. TNReady's launch got off to such a rough start that testing was basically scrapped for the year.

Tennessee caused a stir earlier this year when it ran an audit of the state's 2015 graduating class. The number crunchers in Nashville reported that nearly a third of students who received a diploma didn't complete the required coursework. One in three.

Naturally, parents and politicians alike were baffled and more than a little bothered.

Rabies vaccination tags in Tennessee will now be more helpful when a pet goes missing. The state Department of Health has established a website to search the tag number found on a lost dog or cat.

In Tennessee's most rural school districts, nearly a third of students are graduating without the required two years of a foreign language. And a district with some of the highest use of foreign language waivers defends the practice as helpful to students.

Historians in Nashville have been on the hunt for a prominent man named Fred Douglas. But they are happy to report that no one by the name has been found. Because they had a pretty good hunch that a park bought in the 1930s was named after the famed abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass. The name just wasn't spelled correctly.

Curators at the Hermitage hope they'll have time to show President Donald Trump around Andrew Jackson's home when he visits on Wednesday. There's at least one artifact they'd like for him to see: a 230-year-old candle.

The Hermitage will have to close on what was expected to be a day of celebration for Andrew Jackson's 250th birthday. But the museum's CEO says they don't mind shutting down for the expected visit by President Trump on Wednesday, which will be the first by a sitting president in 35 years.

Some of the first job approval numbers show President Donald Trump losing support in Tennessee. An MTSU poll released Wednesday suggests he's no more popular than President Obama was during his first few months in office.

About a third of Tennessee students who graduated from high school in 2015 did so without earning the necessary credits. That revelation came late last month in a report by the state's education department — a report meant to explore why so many Tennessee students are having trouble in college. For the first time, state officials led an audit to see whether graduates were fulfilling the state's graduation requirements. One in three was not.

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