The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has released this statement from President David Mansouri about Governor Haslam’s State of the State address and his 2016-17 budget proposal:

Great teaching is essential to helping Tennessee students achieve more. SCORE’s 2015-16 State of Education in Tennessee report calls empowering the state’s teachers a top priority for this year. Specifically, the report urges state leaders to follow through on the commitment to make Tennessee the fastest improving state for teacher compensation and to improve reading instruction support for all teachers. In the State of the State address, Governor Haslam has proposed the second-largest teacher pay increase since the Basic Education Program funding mechanism was created in 1992 and a new reading coach program. Tennessee students do their best when their teachers are the best, and these proposals help support excellent teaching.

There is also a moral imperative for Tennessee to do more to ensure equitable outcomes for underserved populations so Tennessee can reach the goal of preparing all students for postsecondary education and the workforce. This budget includes proposals that could help close achievement gaps for English language learners and students with disabilities.

Finally, the governor’s budget proposal to invest more in the Labor Education Alignment Program aligns with a recommendation in the State of Education report for businesses and communities to create more student incentives to pursue degrees and certifications in high-need employment areas.