Local lawmakers earn straight ‘As’ in education

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

When it comes to supporting education measures in the Tennessee General Assembly, local lawmakers earned straight A’s.

Tennesseans for Student Success, an advocacy group promoting educational issues, recently released their annual Legislative Scorecard which grades legislators based on their support for crucial educational legislation and policies.

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“Every year, our elected officials meet in Nashville to debate, create, and ultimately pass legislation affecting Tennessee’s students,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister in a statement released with the scorecard results. “We launched the TNSuccessCard to clearly and concisely inform voters of the work done in the Tennessee General Assembly to support the four policy priorities driving student success: high academic standards, an aligned assessment, more choices in public education, and accountability for everyone involved in the classroom.”

The four members of the Tennessee General Assembly who represent Carter County — Sen. Rusty Crowe, Sen. Jon Lundberg, Rep. John Holsclaw, and Rep. Timothy Hill — all earned top marks in this year’s report card from TSS. Crowe, Holsclaw, and Hill all received grades of “A” while Lundberg captured an A+ and was named as “Top of the Class” in the assessment.

In speaking with the Elizabethton Star on Wednesday, both Holsclaw and Crowe praised their colleagues for their work in supporting schools and educational initiatives.

“I’m proud of all of our Representatives and Senators in our area for their support of education,” Holsclaw said. “We’ve got strong support for our public school systems here, unlike in Middle and West Tennessee.”

Crowe echoed the sentiment from Holsclaw.

“I’m proud that Tennessee is on the right track,” Crowe said. “Thank goodness the Legislature has been listening to teachers, parents, and the public because we have been able to stop things like Common Core.”

Both lawmakers said education has long been a top priority for the General Assembly and will continue to be so.

“The kids are our future, our most valuable asset,” Holsclaw said. “I’m all about providing them with an optimal education.”

While the state has made improvements over the years in education, Tennessee has seen a failure in recent years in implementing testing for students.

“I’ve been disappointed with the companies the Department of Education has contracted with to do the testing,” Crowe said. “We have to get that under control for our teachers. Their careers depend on it because they are assessed based on those test scores.”

“We’ve got to get testing right, and that is going to be a big focus in this coming year,” he added.

Crowe and Holsclaw both expressed a desire to see the Legislature doing more to support teachers.

“I think we need to find ways to make our teachers feel more valued,” Crowe said. “Too many are leaving the profession. Our teachers have a tough job, they really do.”

Holsclaw said he is in favor of providing raises for teachers as well as better support for their classrooms.

“We need to give them the things they need to do their job,” Holsclaw said. “They are the ones guiding our children’s future.”