The following statement may be attributed to Beth Brown, Grundy County High School teacher and Tennessee Education Association president.
“Tennessee is in a period of significant change in leadership, which now includes the commissioner of education. As candidates for the state’s next commissioner of education are considered, it is my hope that serious consideration is given to an individual’s experience in our own Tennessee public schools.
I firmly believe it is in the best interest of students, educators and schools that the new commissioner has experience not just in school- or district-level leadership, but that she or he has actually taught in a Tennessee public school classroom. Our next commissioner must have demonstrated an ability to work with and understand the diverse needs of our students and schools.
Students and educators are struggling with two major issues that must be tackled by the next commissioner: high-stakes standardized tests and a lack of proper funding for all schools. Our schools need a leader who understands that the current test-and-punish system is not helping our students succeed. Governor Bill Haslam has made significant increases in state funding for public education, but there is still much work to be done to ensure every child has the resources needed for a well-rounded public education.
TEA is hopeful the next commissioner of education will have both a historical context of where Tennessee public education has been and a clear vision of where we need to be to set every Tennessee student up for future success.”