I was born and raised in the 17th district and am a product of our own district's public education system. Even now, Mariah and I have a child of our own in our public school system. So, understandably, I am committed to continually improving our public education system in the 17th district and across the state for our children.
In order to make this a reality, I firmly believe more control of our children's education needs to be returned to the local level. The farther control of education is from the local level, the less effective it can and will be. Neither someone in Nashville nor Washington, D.C. can understand the culture, dynamics and needs of our students, like the people here in our district.
While Tennessee has been ranked 21st nationally in overall education quality, it still ranks in the bottom 10 of the 50 states in the four core tested areas. However, the schools in our district are not the cause of the state's educational woes. We can look a lot farther West in the state for that. Tennessee has 65 schools scoring in the bottom 5% in student performance throughout the state and Memphis is home to 58 of those schools, not Jefferson or Sevier counties. Actually, East Tennessee is home to some nationally recognized schools.
Our public school teachers in the Jefferson and Sevier counties should be commended for the work they are doing in our classrooms with our children, not held accountable for low-performing schools on the opposite end of our state. This is not to say that there isn't room for improvement across every school district in Tennessee. Our teachers are professionals and, like other professionals, are always looking to hone their craft. There are multiple stakeholders in the education system. However, we have only seen the focus trained on one particular group, the teachers. Adminstrators, parents, and even the students are also stakeholders in the system, and should be no less accountable for the success of our public education system.
As a citizen and a parent of a public school student, it is my responsibility to support our local educators and schools in their efforts to provide our children with the best educational opportunities available. As a state legislator, my responsibility would not diminish. More would be required of me, as your representative and voice in Nashville to lead on education and other issues affecting your children and you.