We can't settle for anything but the best in Tennessee's classrooms, because the countries our kids will be competing with for the jobs of the 21st century--China, Japan, India--aren't settling, either. In tough economic times, education is an easy target for budget cuts, but nothing could be more shortsighted. When parents are stressed at home because they've lost a job, children need strong, effective teachers more, not less. When jobs are scarce, there's no better time for young people to get that degree or for workers who've been laid off to go back and retrain. You don't cut education when the unemployment rate for workers with a college degree is half the unemployment rate for those without one. You don't cut education when eight out of ten new jobs will require retraining or a higher degree by the end of the decade. You don't cut education when you know that countries that out- educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. You don't attack and demoralize teachers when you should be motivating and energizing them. If I had to invest in higher salaries for 100,000 new teachers or in companies that outsource jobs to China and India, I'd invest in teachers any day. If I had to invest in a thousand colleges and technical schools or a thousand prisons, I'd invest in higher education any day. It's time to recommit to our kids, our workers, and our future by making sure Tennessee has the best-educated children and workforce in the world.