State of Tennessee Archives: on Education

Bill Haslam: Drive to 55: 55% get post-HS certificate or degree by 2025

In the year 2025, 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree beyond high school to get a job. Today, only 32 percent of Tennesseans qualify. To truly be America at its best, that's not good enough.

This time last year, I announced the Drive to 55--our effort to reach at least 55 percent by 2025. This isn't just about higher education--it's about better jobs for more Tennesseans. It's about building a stronger economy. I have spent a lot of time over the past two years on workforce readiness. I am more convinced than ever that our urgent needs are in the areas of access, quality and relevance. To tackle these, our Drive to 55 initiative focuses on five key goals:

  1. Getting students ready;
  2. Getting them into school;
  3. Getting them out of school;
  4. Finishing what we started with adult students; and
  5. Tying education directly to workforce needs.
Source: 2014 State of the State address to Tennessee legislature Feb 3, 2014

Joe Carr: Prohibit discrimination against college religious groups

Joe Carr voted Yea on HB 534--Nondiscrimination Policies for College Student Religious Groups. Summary
Source: VoteSmart summary of 2013-2014 Tennessee legislative session Mar 18, 2013

Bill Haslam: Drive to 55: Increase college graduation to 55% by 2025

Today, we base funding on the number of students who are actually graduating [instead of on enrollment]. This shift puts the focus where it should be--on graduates. And because we're seeing results, this year's budget fully funds, for the first time, the Complete College Act outcomes formula.

Only 32% of Tennesseans have earned an associates' degree or higher. That's not good enough. Our goal is to move the needle so that Tennessee is on track to raise that number to 55% by 2025. Tonight we begin our "drive to 55"--a strategic initiative to have the best trained workforce in America. To do that, we must improve affordability and access in higher education. To help us achieve this goal, we're partnering with Western Governors University to establish "WGU Tennessee." It is an online, competency-based university that is geared to the 800,000 adult Tennesseans that have some college credit but didn't graduate with an associate or four-year degree.

Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Tennessee legislature Jan 28, 2013

Joe Carr: Require abstinence-centered sex education in schools

Joe Carr voted Yea on SB 3310: Vote to pass a bill that requires abstinence-centered sex education in schools. Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Source: VoteSmart summary of 2011-2012 Tennessee legislative session Apr 27, 2012

Bill Haslam: Remove 90-cap limit on charter schools

Charter schools open new opportunities for learning and we have asked for the 90-cap limits to be removed and for more students to have the option of a charter school as a learning environment. There are a number of innovative approaches to classroom instruction underway and we can learn from the experiences of others.

The City University School of Liberal Arts is a charter school with a college preparatory foundation. Students have full access to diverse advanced placement courses and dual enrollment at Christian Brothers University. In Nashville the LEAD Academy is the city's first charter high school with a vision to do Whatever It Takes to ensure students graduate from high school and attend college. The Metropolitan Nashville school system is 1 of 9 in the country recognized by the Gates Foundation for a collaborative approach to blend charter schools in with other district schools.

Source: 2011 State of the State speech to Tennessee legislature Mar 14, 2011

Phil Bredesen: New reforms: student achievement to evaluate teacher

I want now to talk for a moment with the teachers in our state. I do understand that some of the changes we have made, especially those regarding the use of student achievement in teacher evaluation, cause some of you concern. I've talked with a lot of teachers these past few weeks. Some hate these changes, some love them, many are concerned but waiting to see. I want you to know that I understand and respect your concerns, and understand that teaching is a profession that has many more dimensions than can be measured by a student's performance on a written test. I also understand that there are many factors beyond your control; the influence of home and parents, and the personalities of the students themselves. Let's work together to find an approach that is both fair to your teaching profession and which gives our citizens confidence that the money they have invested in our schools is being used well.
Source: Tennessee 2010 State of the State Address Feb 1, 2010

Don Sundquist: Invest more in teachers and in early education

    A RAND report found that Tennessee isnít doing as well as other states in student achievement and performance goals because weíve only invested in one of three essential ingredients. Those three essential ingredients are:
  1. Reducing class size, which we are doing.
  2. Early childhood education, which we do very little of.
  3. Investing in teachers, which we need to do more of.
Itís time for us to make significant investments in each of these areas.
Source: 2001 State of the State Address to Tennessee legislature Jan 29, 2001

Don Sundquist: We test students & rate schools; now invest in reading

In 1992, the Education Improvement Act, put in place a system of testing and assessment that has made Tennessee a national leader. Thanks to those assessments, we know exactly how our children are doing in school.

Last fall, for the first time, we posted school report cards on the web. You can log on and see test scores and gains for every public school in the state.

With all this knowledge in hand, and with the results of a literacy report commissioned by this body, now we know that itís time to focus on reading in Tennessee. We know from test scores that our children canít read as well as they should. We donít want our legacy to be that we failed to solve our problems. We donít want our legacy to be that we passed them on to the next generation because we didnít have the courage to make the difficult choices. We must invest more in education and expect more in return.

Source: 2001 State of the State Address to Tennessee legislature Jan 29, 2001

Don Sundquist: Invest in teachers: scholarships, mentors, merit pay

Source: 2001 State of the State Address to Tennessee legislature Jan 29, 2001

  • The above quotations are from State of Tennessee Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Education:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Apr 20, 2014