Haslam Announces Teacher Recruitment Plan

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, May 11, 2010:

Will lead an aggressive “push for talent” in Tennessee

KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced today his plan to address Tennessee’s coming teacher shortage and recruit high quality teachers into every classroom by leveraging innovative programs and strategies.

Mayor Haslam will promote innovative programs that provide alternative routes into teaching and work with the Tennessee Department of Education, State Board of Education, and Tennessee’s teacher colleges to develop strategies for enhanced recruitment efforts.

Programs including Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, the Distinguished Professionals Education Institute, Teach Tennessee, and urban residencies are examples of the types of efforts Mayor Haslam will look to expand across the state. He will also work with Tennessee teacher colleges and state education officials to reach bright students early and recruit them into teaching.

“The next governor must have a strategy for bringing more high quality teachers into the profession,” Haslam said. “We have many outstanding teachers across the state and we’re making strides in the area of teacher evaluation and development. However, the state is facing a serious challenge on the teaching front: At the same time we’re working to improve the quality of teaching we’ve got to increase the quantity of teachers we’re successfully recruiting.”

The University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research estimates that Tennessee could face a teacher shortage that reaches more than 30,000 by the 2013-2014 school year, and a wealth of research has shown that no other in-school factor has a greater impact on the success of a child than the effectiveness of the teacher.

“It’s essential that every classroom in Tennessee is led by a highly effective teacher,” Haslam continued. “My strategy will not be to simply wait and hope they come to us. I will lead an aggressive effort to widen and strengthen the pipeline into teaching and actively recruit the best talent.”

“As I’ve traveled the state visiting schools, meeting with teachers and principals, and talking with local education officials, I’ve seen examples of innovative programs that are popping up all across Tennessee,” Haslam said.

“With major recent outside investments in Tennessee, including the Gates Foundation and Memphis City Schools’ Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and the announcement of Tennessee’s win in the Race to the Top competition, it’s clear that the rest of the country is beginning to notice the momentum that is building around education in Tennessee,” continued Haslam. “As governor, I will capitalize on the opportunity that exists, and a big part of that will be doing whatever it takes to bring the best and brightest into teaching in our great state.”