Education is the key to Tennessee's and the nation's future. Tennessee needs an education system that provides its students with the skills that are necessary to compete and succeed in life. A quality education needs to be a priority in Tennessee in order to insure that the state's economic strength and prosperity continue into the future.
The current financial meltdown has taken center stage in the media and in Washington. Yet, another potentially large crisis looms in the horizon - the rising dropout rate of our nation's high school students. Without an educated workforce, our country cannot compete in a global economy. Those that lack a high school education will have significantly diminished lifetime earnings, creating increased social costs as well.
Policy makers in Washington have tried to improve our schools by increasing their control over federal funding. Parents, teachers and local school board officials must have greater flexibility and reduced regulation with the use of these federal funds. The emphasis of our education system must be placed on the child, not on federal educational mandates from Washington. I support reforms that shift education decision making to those who know children best - local leaders and parents - not to Washington bureaucrats.