I would like to thank SCORE for giving me the opportunity to blog on this forum. I have often said that the most important thing we deal with in the General Assembly is education.

I have served on the Senate Education Committee since 2004 and have been honored to be a part of a tremendous amount of positive and innovative legislation. Two of the pieces of legislation I have been most proud of being involved with are the Complete College Tennessee Act and the First to the Top Act. It is so important that we not only educate the children of our state, but also prepare them on a path for success through college or career and technical education.

We need a vibrant and educated workforce in Tennessee, and an educated workforce is part of the puzzle in recruiting and retaining businesses and jobs. I believe this starts with having effective teachers in each classroom, high-quality principals and administrators in each school, and engaged parents at home.

This past session we made strides toward raising the bar for education in our state. We still have a long way to go, but passing bills to reform teacher tenure and opening the door for more charter schools have made it clear that Tennessee is focused on raising teacher effectiveness and improving student achievement. I am excited to see what new ideas in education reform are brought to the table in the next half of our legislative session. By working collaboratively and openly we can continue to make Tennessee a leader in education reform in our country.

I hope this blog will serve as a way to open the discussion between legislators and the students, parents, administrators, teachers, and citizens of our state. I look forward to continuing this dialogue in the weeks to come.