NASHVILLE Mayor Karl Dean released this statement on Monday:
“I strongly support Governor Bredesen’s call for a special session of the legislature next week, and I join him in urging our state legislators to take the necessary action to make Tennessee competitive for ‘Race to the Top’ funds.
“President Obama has created a historic opportunity to reform public education in our country. As the mayor of the only school district in state of Tennessee to be in ‘Restructuring I’ under No Child Left Behind, I feel a tremendous sense of urgency for education reform. It’s our students who will reap the consequences if we simply keep doing things the way they’ve always been done.
“Since taking office, we’ve brought two national nonprofit organizations focused on education reform to Nashville to work in our schools – Teach for America and The New Teacher Project. With The New Teacher Project embedded in our schools’ human resources department, our district stands at the threshold of completely changing the way it recruits and retains its teachers. In December, I announced the launch of the Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee, which will recruit and support high quality charter school operators in Nashville, and eventually the state. And I’m working with Director of Metro Schools Dr. Jesse Register on an effort to transform the traditional teacher compensation model in Nashville.
“Governor Bredesen has always been a strong advocate for public education, and has made great strides, most recently with the implementation of the Tennessee Diploma Project. This next step – changing the way we evaluate our teachers – is right in line with my areas of focus. While others talk about reform, Governor Bredesen is on the frontline pushing for the changes this state needs in order to raise the bar.
“I too plan to remain on the frontlines, as I did with the recent charter school legislation, and advocate for the needed changes that will place Nashville and this state in a position for long-term success.”