The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) celebrated their 10th Anniversary of working to improve the future for Tennessee students on August 12, 2019. While we at Professional Educators of Tennessee have not always agreed with some of the agenda, we have never doubted their resolve or pursuit in improving public education in our state. We are glad to partner with them to improve the future for educators and help our students succeed.

As Chairman of SCORE, Senator Bill Frist should be commended and honored for his tireless advocacy and passion for making education a priority in our state. We are all better in public education because of his commitment to parents, teachers and especially students.

 By advocating for many organizations, including our own, Governors Phil Bredesen, Bill Haslam,and now Bill Lee have all made education a priority in their administrations. However, SCORE’s insistence on doing what is best for students to achieve excellence for all has made the greatest impact on public policy in the state this decade. What has been significant has been consistent leadership at the organization, from former CEO and state senator Jamie Woodson to current CEO David Mansouri, who have both shared Frist’s relentless drive in educating our students.

To prepare our children for the future, a student-centered education begins with an excellent teacher. SCORE has been pushing that envelope and playing a critical role in advancing student achievement in Tennessee. That is why our dialogue with SCORE continues to surround how to engage and empower educators to improve public education. Those who possess the knowledge about students must have input into the decisions.

We can and we must continue to have policy discussions and debates on improving public education. Marching in complete lockstep has never produced an original thought. We have to understand that public education must be completely committed to student success. Continued collaboration and a spirit of unity remain critical in creating a culture that truly values education.

One of SCORE’s strategic priorities is preparing, recruiting, supporting, and retaining excellent teachers and leaders. There is no doubt that this is often overlooked by policymakers at the state and local level. A school system cannot have high expectations for their students, without a high-quality teacher in their classrooms. This may prove difficult moving forward, as there are not enough qualified teachers applying for teaching jobs to meet the demand in all locations and fields. Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing. We have much more work left to do. Together, educators and students across Tennessee will continue to climb higher and our state will rise to the top.

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