This week, we welcome Tennessee's children as they start another successful school year. We must provide our children with the best education in order to secure a stronger future. As we enter this new school year, we also approach an important time in Congress where we will begin work to update the outdated No Child Left Behind Act. I have spent much time listening to teachers, administrators and parents to discuss how we can better provide our nation's educators with the necessary tools to educate our children.
Our nation's education system is in serious need of reform. For too long, political leaders have tried to micro-manage the system from the top down. The education system should primarily be under state and local control. Students and teachers in various schools have individual needs that cannot be determined by across- the- board federal regulations. Teachers should be the ones with control over their classroom, not bureaucrats in Washington.
Our children deserve the very best education. I will work to return federal dollars to the states and provide parents and students with more options and opportunity, such as charter schools and school choice.
This week I also had the privilege of joining a Congressional delegation visiting Israel in order to further understand the important U.S.-Israeli relationship and the country's critical role in our national security. Israel plays an essential role as one of America's closest allies. Israel shares the values on which America was founded, such as democracy, freedom and basic human rights. This nation has been a reliable partner to the United States, and it is important that we return that same support.
As a representative of the United States, I had the chance to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Israelis from all different walks of life in order to better understand the bond between our two countries. To better understand the dynamics of the region, I also met with high level Palestinian officials and heard their views regarding Israel and Palestine. By understanding the challenges and successes that have been made in Israel, we can develop a stronger alliance, a more peaceful Middle East, and a strong America.