Walley Shows Support for Teachers

As a strong supporter of teachers and our public education system, I am dismayed at the ill-educated comments made by Larry Arnn the President of Hillsdale College. The negative remarks he made about teachers on stage with Governor Lee are far from the truth and reflect poorly on Hillsdale College.

Arnn belittled the extensive training of teachers by saying “teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country.” To make matters worse, he also disparaged the work of teachers by suggesting that anyone can teach children and you don’t have to be an expert to do it.

Teaching is a difficult profession, and I have tremendous respect for every Tennessee teacher. They have the very important job of educating the next generation, and it is certainly not a job that any average person can do.

A case in point is Ms. Ansel Griffin. She was among the many wonderful teachers who influenced me as a child. When I was a second grader at a small country school, La Grange Elementary, Ms. Griffin had to teach grades 1-4 in a one-room classroom! That took some real smarts and organization. The combination of her kindness and academic acumen made a permanent impression on me.

In the General Assembly, we are grateful for the work of our outstanding Tennessee teachers. That’s why the new education funding formula we passed this year, the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), looks out for teachers and ensures that money set aside for teacher pay raises goes directly into their paychecks.

This year, we made a historic investment in K-12 public schools with $1 billion in new funding for education. As your state senator, I will fight for every dollar of education funding to stay in our public schools and not be diverted to charter schools or voucher programs. Along with churches and small businesses, our public schools are the most integral institutions in our communities, and I will continue to support them.

Our public schools and teachers do not deserve of the criticism given by Larry Arnn. One institution that very much is worthy of scrutiny is Hillsdale College, which is seeking to partner with publicly funded charter schools in Tennessee. Any partnership with Hillsdale College must be approved by the General Assembly. My colleagues and I will certainly keep in mind Arnn’s egregious remarks when examining such proposals. Personally, I cannot foresee supporting taxpayer dollars going to Hillsdale College in light of the comments from its president.

Tennessee State Senator Page Walley released a statement regarding statements made recently by the President of Hillsdale College.
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