Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; April 26, 2010:
KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced today his next campaign focus: the strengths, challenges, and opportunities facing Tennessee’s K-12 education system.
Haslam will focus his campaign schedule on visits to traditional public elementary and secondary schools, charter and magnet schools, private schools, and home schools to learn from parents, teachers, principals, and district leaders how to ensure every student graduates high school prepared for college or a good career.
Mayor Haslam conducted a three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in March, and for the past month he has focused on targeted workforce development efforts at community colleges, technology centers, and four-year higher education institutions across the state.
“Education is our best long-term economic development strategy,” Haslam said. “If we want our children to grow up and obtain good jobs, and for our state to be able to attract those jobs, we need a world class education system.
“With Tennessee students ranking 41st out of 50 states on national tests and nearly 28,000 students dropping out of high school in a given year, we’ve got to do better,” Haslam continued. “The next governor of Tennessee must work tirelessly to improve our schools.”
There are many reasons to be optimistic about Tennessee schools. The state is implementing new, tougher standards that raise expectations for students; recent changes to state law should allow for improved methods for evaluating and developing teachers; restrictions on charter schools have been and can be further loosened; the state is attracting significant outside investment; and innovative practices are popping up all across the state.
“There’s no question the next governor will have a great opportunity to make a difference in our schools,” said Haslam. “But we also know that whenever there is change there is going to be pushback. That’s why we need a leader with executive experience and the courage to do what’s best for our children.
“I want to take a school-by-school approach, and I’m going to be focusing a lot on principals,” Haslam continued. “From my experience in business I recognize that every effective organization has a strong leader. I want to make sure every school in Tennessee is led by a great principal.”
Mayor Haslam will also be visiting private schools and home school organizations and will be engaging parents to learn more about what the state can do to increase parental involvement and choice in education.
“The bottom line is that no one knows better than parents what is best for their individual child. We have to get parents involved in their child’s education, and we have to put them in the driver’s seat,” Haslam said.
Beginning in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Columbia today and Franklin, Nashville, and Murfreesboro tomorrow, Mayor Haslam will be visiting programs and schools across the state. The Mayor’s schedule for the rest of the week in outlined below.
Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Haslam is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.
Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.