Senators Crowe, Lundberg pass new middle college legislation

Published 2:49 pm Friday, March 4, 2022

NASHVILLE — Sponsored by Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) and Co-sponsored by Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Senate Bill 2370 passed on the Senate floor this week, and will provide the framework for what will become Tennessee’s Middle College Program.
Sen. Crowe this week also passed Gov. Bill Lee’s Senate Bill 2405, the Give Hope Protection Act, through the Senate Education Committee.
Together, these bills will increase the allowable dual-enrollment hours and Hope Scholarship dollars for students. The legislation will also allow students in the 8th and 9th grades to begin utilizing dual enrollment, enabling them to graduate from high school not only with a high school diploma, but also with a two-year degree in nursing, welding, computers, mechanics, or other Career and Technical Education (CTE) degree.
These students could walk across the stage to receive their diploma on the weekend and begin work as soon as Monday with their CTE certification.
Sen. Crowe issued the following statement about the legislation:
“We are very proud of Gov. Lee, who has been the catalyst for CTE development in Tennessee. Earlier this year, Mayor Patty Woodby, myself, Sen. Lundberg, Rep. John Holsclaw, Rep. Scotty Campbell, and Rep. Tim Hicks met with Gov. Lee to discuss Carter County’s plan for a middle-college approach.
“Rep. Hicks and Rep. Rebecca Alexander have been very instrumental in Washington County to pull all the pieces together in developing this plan for our students. Rep. Hicks has been a key player in energizing Gov. Lee and all involved as he had passed legislation this past year requiring all of our middle schools to begin informing students of the potential for CTE curriculum.
“This was so well-received that Gov. Lee, his staff, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) worked diligently in putting all the pieces together, supporting and helping to develop the legislation that Sen. Crowe and Sen. Lundberg presented and passed this week.
“These bills will not only provide the opportunity for Carter County’s school board to authorize and implement this program, but will also allow it to be provided to every school system in Tennessee,” continued Crowe. “This is truly transitional legislation as companies like Eastman in Sullivan County, Ballad Health, and all other hospital systems and healthcare providers in Tennessee experiencing workforce development shortages will benefit from these students graduating with their certification at a much earlier time than they would have without this legislation.
“I want to personally thank our Mayors, our Gov. Lee, our school boards, THEC, the State Board of Regents, and especially our Centers for Applied Technology for working together to put this plan in place for our Tennessee students.”

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