| Oct 29, 2013
Guest post by Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst
On a global scale, our country is falling behind in education. According to the most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science study
(2011), only 7 percent of students in the United States reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, in contrast to over 45 percent in other countries. As jobs of the future global economy continue to emphasize math and science competences, this lag among American students should sound alarms.
Despite these grim statistics, Tennessee has set itself apart from the rest of the country by coming together in a bipartisan manner to pursue meaningful reforms.
I firmly believe that strong public school systems are the pulse of every prosperous state economy. They attract businesses and allow local markets to remain competitive on a national and international scale. Moreover, high-quality schools are also responsible for preparing our students for college and entry into the workforce.
Simply put, education is a pathway to spurring economic growth and creating jobs.
This is why our legislators, business leaders and parents have worked so hard to improve public education in the state. While Tennesseans have every right to feel proud of the academic progress that has been made, now is not the time to press pause.
Moving forward, Tennessee could continue to raise the bar through the Common Core State Standards Initiative
(CCSSI), which aims to focus the spectrum of learning standards in our nation. Not only will Common Core prepare students to be college- and career-ready with standards that specifically address what students should learn in high school, it will ensure that our nation’s academic expectations for student learning are keeping pace with our international counterparts.
Governor Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ramsey, and Speaker Harwell have done a great job in making education a priority in Tennessee by boldly supporting transformative education reforms. However, they can’t do it alone. As the General Assembly prepares for another session, everyone must do their part in improving education, especially business owners. I urge you to reach out to your legislators, and become advocates for policies that put the students of this state first.
StudentsFirst has been a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce member since 2013.