Creating a world-class Tennessee education system
There's an old saying that continually rings in my ears these days: "There are two gifts we can give our children: one is roots, and the other is wings."
One of the primary ways my parents gave me these was through the gift of a quality public school education.
My Tennessee public school teachers were my heroes growing up. They taught me how to read and think. They gave me an appreciation of history, language, science, literature, and technology. And perhaps most importantly, they instilled in me a great love of country and a moral obligation to participate in public life.
All the evidence is abundantly clear: when the federal government supports teachers, our students win. And when our students win, our country prospers.
But today, our teachers are increasingly being disrespected by the government whose children they serve. But with a slight change of priorites—and without raising taxes a dime—we can make sure we're fighting for teachers as much as they're fighting for our children.
I will work with my colleagues to:
Elevate and modernize the teaching profession in Tennessee life. In a rapidly changing global economy, the demands on Tennessee teachers are higher than ever before. So we must provide our teachers with pay that reflects the dignity and importance of their work. And the days of teachers buying their own supplies must end immediately. We don't make soldiers pay for their uniforms, so we shouldn't make our teachers pay for their pencils.
Rebuild rural schools. The majority of our district's sixteen counties have school buildings that suffer from a crumbling infrastructure. The federal government should provide grants to rebuild and modernize these structures.
Invest in second language acquisition, international education opportunities, and coding classes. The students who can begin learning a second language, experience other cultures, and be proficient in emerging technologies will be well-placed in tomorrow's economy. Therefore, I will work to increase funding for Peace Corps and Fulbright and to create parallel opportunities for our nation's high schoolers, particularly those in rural areas.
Provide teachers with better and more consistent professional development opportunities and support at every level of their job. The demands on teachers stretch well beyond the classroom, so we must create a support structure that does as well. Along with more training opportunities, we must provide more funding for teacher's assistants, counselors, and safety personnel.