State of Tennessee Archives: on Education

James Mackler: Against vouchers, for accountability

By reducing accountability for charter schools, promoting public funding for voucher programs, and loosening the regulations on for-profit colleges, the administration is putting our children's future at risk. Tennessee needs a U.S. Senator that will stand up and fight against these policies, not enable them to continue.
Source: 2018 Tennessee Senatorial website Oct 1, 2017

Diane Black: Supports tax dollars for private schools

A firm believer in school choice, I supported the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Reauthorization Act, leveraging Congress's oversight role to ensure that DC education funds specifically include charter schools and scholarships for low-income families to use towards private schooling where the student's assigned public school may not be up to par. If we can showcase the success of school choice in Washington D.C., states can choose to replicate it nationwide.
Source: 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial website Aug 31, 2017

Karl Dean: Small city property tax increase to directed to education

In a video, the Republican Governors Association [showed Dean saying that he raised property taxes but] did not include Dean's entire commentary on taxes. Dean went on to say that he was perhaps the first Metro mayor who did not raise taxes during his first term and that he opted to raise property taxes during his second term for "a variety of reasons."

"No. 1, you've got to run the city and you've got to make sure that you're taking care of the services that are needed by the citizens," Dean told reporters. "And that tax increase was directed largely to education."

Dean, in his statement, said despite a "small property tax increase" during his second term, Metro's property tax rate was still lower when he left the mayor's office than when he arrived. "This was because we saw property values grow significantly and by state law, tax rates have to go down to adjust for an increase in assessed values," Dean said.

Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee gubernatorial race Apr 25, 2017

Bill Lee: Charter schools change lives of at-risk youth

Through a YMCA program aimed at helping at-risk youth, Lee said he met a Nashville high school student, Adam, whom Lee withdrew from a traditional public school and enrolled in a charter school, a decision that he said changed the boy's life. He also cites mentor experiences at Men of Valor, a re-entry program for ex-offenders, as the reasons why he ended up being part of the state's Higher Education Commission and Gov. Bill Haslam's Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism.

Those experiences helped form his views on education, public safety and correction. He said he developed "a vision for something bigger" and found himself wondering whether he could expand his influence. "What if I could make life better for six and a half million people? That was a compelling thought to me," he said. "That is really what drove me to consider running for governor."

Source: The Tennesseean on 2018 Tennessee gubernatorial race Apr 23, 2017

Karl Dean: Supports publicly financed, privately led charter schools

Dean has a challenge to unite his party before getting a chance to deploy his statewide strategy. Although considered a popular mayor, Dean sometimes butted heads with Democrats over his support of publicly financed, privately led charter schools. He's also not allied with labor unions, a key Democratic constituency. He instead has closer ties to the business community and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial race Feb 26, 2017

Karl Dean: Expand school choice teacher accountability

Dean called public education "the major civil rights issue of our time" and his top priority. He said he wants to build off the work of Tennessee's "two pro-education governors," Bredesen and Haslam. Both men supported education reforms that included expanding school choice and controversial accountability measures for teachers. Tennessee should be known as a place, Dean said, where you want to move to because of the education.
Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial race Feb 26, 2017

Karl Dean: Charters ok if non-profit, but vouchers not ok

Though known for his support of charter schools, Dean said his education approach might look different as governor than as a mayor of a large urban city. He also said he opposes vouchers that would divert public funds to private schools and opposes for-profit charter schools.

"I think what my record as mayor of Nashville speaks to is that when I say education will be a priority, it will be a priority," he said.

Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial race Feb 26, 2017

Bill Haslam: Narrow score gaps for minority and female students

On education, there is no state in the U.S. that is demanding the spotlight like Tennessee. With the incredible hard work of our teachers and students, Tennesseans are the fastest improving in the country in math, reading and as of this year, science. We received the science scores from the Nation's Report Card, and beyond being the fastest improving, we narrowed the gaps between African American, Latino and white students. We also completely eliminated the gap between male and female students.
Source: 2017 State of the State address to Tennessee Legislature Jan 30, 2017

Bill Haslam: STRONG Act: tuition-free public college for veterans

I've had the chance to personally witness Tennessee's National Guard in action, whether it's in Afghanistan or McMinn County, helping those communities recover from devastating tragedy. Tonight, we're announcing the Tennessee STRONG Act to provide tuition free attendance for these men and women at our public universities and colleges. If we can help our soldiers and airmen who protect us at home and abroad, I know you agree we should do it.
Source: 2017 State of the State address to Tennessee Legislature Jan 30, 2017

David Kustoff: Oppose Common Core; local folks know best

Source: 2016 Tennessee House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Bill Haslam: Tennessee Promise: two years of free community college

Last year, we introduced the Tennessee Promise--the very first state in the country to guarantee high school graduates two years of free community college or technical school. This year, of our 65,000 high school seniors, 58,000 of them applied for the Tennessee Promise. And 9,200 adult Tennesseans signed up to be volunteer mentors for those students.

For the last 30 years, Tennessee's greatest need has been for better trained workers who can fill the jobs that companies want to bring here. We think the Tennessee Promise is a game changer.

We're also going to include $400,000 in this year's budget to establish the Tennessee Promise Bridge Program. It's a pilot program to bring first-generation students to campus prior to fall enrollment. When nobody in your family has ever gone to college before, being there can be intimidating. This is one more step to make sure these students have the best chance possible to succeed.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 Tennessee Legislature Feb 9, 2015

Bill Haslam: $2.5M for SAILS program: math tutors for high school seniors

It is also why our SAILS program is so important. SAILS gives students who need extra support in math that attention during their senior year in high school so they can avoid remediation when they enter college. We piloted the program two years ago, and the results speak for themselves. Last year, 8,100 students were served by the SAILS program, and almost 70 percent of those students completed all remediation while still in high school. That saved families nearly $6.5 million in tuition. This year we are including $2.5 million to sustain the success of the SAILS program.

But the reality is that just reaching high school graduates won't be enough to reach our goal. In Tennessee, there are nearly one million adults with some post-secondary credit but without a degree. We have to figure out ways to reconnect those adults and remove the barriers that are preventing them from earning their certificate or degree, which will lead to a better job and future.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 Tennessee Legislature Feb 9, 2015

Gordon Ball: I believe in public education

I grew up in Cocke County, one of the poorest counties in our state. It was my public education that allowed me to become a success in life and gain the opportunity to be where I am today. I want the same opportunity for all our children, whether they live in a poor county, an inner-city housing project or a prosperous suburb. Equal opportunity demands it. That's the American dream. I believe in public education.

We need to return to viewing education as an investment in our future. We need to support early childhood education and give kids a fair shot at success from their earliest days. We need to continue support for school lunch programs. No child needs to worry more about being hungry than about an education. We need to impress upon our state legislatures the importance of incorporating financial literacy into curriculums for grades 6-12. We need to work collaboratively with teachers, not against them, to improve the performance of students, teachers, and schools.

Source: 2014 Tennessee Senate campaign website, Aug 7, 2014

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 voting record 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

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.
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Page last updated: Feb 13, 2018