Bill Lee on Education



4% salary boost for teachers; make $40,000 minimum salary

I'm proposing the largest investment in K-12 teacher salaries in Tennessee history. My budget sets aside $117 million additional dollars for teachers, an amount equal to a 4% increase in the state's contribution to teacher salaries. We must also work harder to make teaching a more attractive profession for young people. Over the next two years, we will recommend moving the minimum salary schedule for teachers from $36,000 to $40,000, so that no teacher is making less than $40,000 per year.
Source: 2020 State of the State Address to the Tennessee legislature , Feb 3, 2020

Focus on new initiatives in teacher training

Our Department of Education will be working with our schools of education, to ensure that our approach to training teachers is the best. The Tennessee Teacher and Leader Institute will solicit proposals to help launch a new initiative that will build the best educator preparation program in the nation. We're investing $4 million to support professional development opportunities for school leaders and innovative career advancement opportunities for our best-performing teachers.
Source: 2020 State of the State Address to the Tennessee legislature , Feb 3, 2020

Fund school choice; competition via charters and ESAs

Parents need more choices and those options should be well-funded and highly accountable. I believe highly accountable public charter schools are a great model for expanding choice without sacrificing quality, and I've seen how they can impact the life and trajectory of a student. We are doubling the amount of public charter school facility funding and I will support legislation this year that makes it easier to open good charter schools and easier to close bad ones.

Education Savings Accounts will enable low-income students from under-performing school districts to attend an independent school of their choice at no cost to their family. I know there's concern that this will take money from public schools, but my plan will invest at least $25 million new dollars in public schools in the first year. Creating competition will provide a new incentive for schools to improve and provide new opportunities for thousands of students.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature , Mar 6, 2019

Schools must focus on acquiring job skills

The job market can change quickly and education must stay in sync with industry. Elementary and middle schools need to begin skills training earlier and, from top to bottom, high school needs to look a lot different. I'm proposing the Governor's Investment in Vocational Education--the GIVE Act--a $25 million investment to increase the number of young adults earning an industry certification and entering a career within one year of high school graduation.

I recently announced the Future Workforce Initiative, a $4 million effort to increase STEM training in K-12 schools. The Future Workforce Initiative will add 100 new CTE programs, grow the number of teachers qualified to teach work-based learning and computer science classes, and expand access to AP courses and early postsecondary options for high schoolers. We are also investing in agricultural education by allocating new recurring funding for both FFA and 4-H youth programs.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature , Mar 6, 2019

Teach civics, with unapologetic American exceptionalism

It was reported that young people in this country have a more favorable view of socialism than capitalism. How will our children know of our cherished American values if we do not teach them? We cannot expect future generations to build upon the incredible progress our country has made if we fail to teach them the history and values that made it possible. In this state, our children will be taught civics education, character formation, and unapologetic American exceptionalism.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature , Mar 6, 2019

Supports charter schools & vouchers

Q: Increase funding for K-12 education?

Karl Dean (D): Yes. Wants to make public education a top priority as governor.

Bill Lee (R): No. Wants to better use existing dollars. Will appoint an inspector general to "seek out waste & abuse in the system."

Q: Education: Support expansion of charter schools or provide vouchers or tax breaks to parents to send their children to private schools with public money?

Karl Dean (D): Opposes vouchers & for-profit charter schools. Believes nonprofit charter schools have a role to play in large urban districts, though "they're not a silver bullet."

Bill Lee (R): Yes. Supports charter schools. "Vouchers are an opportunity to provide another choice. We should certainly pilot voucher programs to see what positive impact they could have."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Tennessee Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Education, including vocational, is key to a bright future

Improving our education system is the single most powerful tool for transforming the future. I'll work to improve our workforce development pipeline, increase choice and transparency, and focus on recruiting the best and brightest to lead schools and classrooms. The newfound focus on vocational and technical education is a talking point. It's been my life for 35 years. My company employs 1200, hundreds of which are skilled tradesmen who are in rewarding careers without a college degree.
Source: 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial website BillLee.com , Jul 4, 2018

Charter schools change lives of at-risk youth

Through a YMCA program aimed at helping at-risk youth, Lee said he met a Nashville high school student, Adam, whom Lee withdrew from a traditional public school and enrolled in a charter school, a decision that he said changed the boy's life. He also cites mentor experiences at Men of Valor, a re-entry program for ex-offenders, as the reasons why he ended up being part of the state's Higher Education Commission and Gov. Bill Haslam's Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism.

Those experiences helped form his views on education, public safety and correction. He said he developed "a vision for something bigger" and found himself wondering whether he could expand his influence. "What if I could make life better for six and a half million people? That was a compelling thought to me," he said. "That is really what drove me to consider running for governor."

Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee gubernatorial race , Apr 23, 2017

Other governors on Education: Bill Lee on other issues:
TN Gubernatorial:
Bill Haslam
David French
Diane Black
Karl Dean
Mark Green
TN Senatorial:
Bill Hagerty
Bob Corker
James Mackler
Lamar Alexander
Larry Crim
Manny Sethi
Marsha Blackburn
Phil Bredesen
Stephen Fincher

Gubernatorial Debates 2019:
Bevin(R) vs.Goforth(R,lost primary) vs.Adkins(D,lost primary) vs.Beshear(D) vs.Edelen(D,lost primary)
Edwards(D) vs.Rispone(R) vs.Abraham(R) vs.Kennedy(R,declined)
Bryant(R,retiring) vs.Foster(R) vs.Hood(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
Murphy(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R)
Northam(D,term-limited) vs.Herring(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2020:
DE: vs.Carney(incumbent) vs.Williams(D)
IN: vs.Holcomb(incumbent) vs.Melton(D) vs.Woody Myers(D)
MO: Parson(incumbent) vs.Nicole Galloway(D) vs.Jim Neely(R)
MT: Bullock(retiring) vs.Fox(R) vs.Perry(R) vs.Gianforte(R) vs.Stapleton(R) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Neill(D) vs.Schreiner(D) vs.Cooney(D) vs.Williams(D)
NC: Cooper(incumbent) vs.Forest(R) vs.Holly Grange(R)
ND: Burgum(incumbent) vs.Michael Coachman(R)
NH: Sununu(incumbent) vs.Volinksy(D) vs.Dan Feltes(D)
PR: Rossello(D;resigned) vs.Wanda Vazquez Garced(D)
UT: Herbert(retiring) vs.Huntsman(R) vs.Cox(R) vs.Jeff Burningham(R)
VT: Scott(incumbent) vs.Rebecca Holcombe(D) vs.Zuckerman(D)
WA: Inslee(incumbent) vs.Bryant(R) vs.Fortunato(R)
WV: Justice(incumbent) vs.Folk(R) vs.Thrasher(R) vs.Vanover(D) vs.Smith(D) vs.Ron Stollings(D)
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Page last updated: Apr 15, 2020