Gov. Haslam kicks off tour of Teacher Cabinet members’ classrooms – Knoxville News Sentinel

By News Sentinel Staff


Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday announced he will visit members of his Teacher Cabinet in their schools this school year as he continues to keep the lines of communication open between classrooms and the Tennessee Capitol.

Haslam kicked off this year’s “Capitol to the Classroom” visits Thursday in Memphis, where he sat in with Karen Vogelsang’s third-grade class at Winridge Elementary School. Vogelsang was the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

“Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country thanks to the hard work of our teachers and students, and we’ve followed up the success we’re seeing in the classroom by making record investments in our schools, including the largest investment ever without a tax increase in this year’s budget,” Haslam said. “We are asking more of our teachers and students, and they are delivering in a big way.”

Haslam in previous years has traveled the state to hear from educators. This year, as part of his new effort, the governor will add a quarterly meeting with his 17-member Teacher Cabinet to received information from the classroom and feedback on policy considerations, including educator support and preparation, assessment, teacher evaluation, response to intervention implementation and the state standards review process.

“We never want the Capitol to be far from the classroom, and the Teacher Cabinet has given us an open line of communication with teachers on the front lines of what we’re trying to accomplish in education every day,” Haslam said. “They typically come to the Capitol, so I’m excited to get out and visit their classrooms to learn more about what makes them successful and what we can do to improve and support them.”

The teacher cabinet, nominated by directors of schools and chosen through an interview process, includes a mix of backgrounds and experience. Members represent each of the state’s three grand divisions as well as cities, suburbs and rural areas and have varying years of experience teaching first through 12th grades.

Haslam’s 2016-17 state budget, which was approved by the Legislature in April, includes $258 million for K-12 education, the largest investment without a tax increase in Tennessee’s history. The funding package has more than $100 million for teacher salaries, nearly $30 million to fund the 12th month of insurance for teachers, and $15 million for recurring technology funds for schools — an amount that doubles the state’s current investment and addresses concerns related to devices, infrastructure and instruction.





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