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Governor Bill Haslem talks education

Last updated on June 20, 2015

Governor Bill Haslam attended the Tennessee Press Associated Winter Conventionís Press Institute and Tennessee Collegiate Media Summitís Luncheon, on Thursday, Feb. 5, as the guest speaker.

The event took place at the Double Tree Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

After recollecting on his history in press, Haslam spoke regrettably about the results of his controversial Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans, which failed in The Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Haslam stressed the importance of the failed proposalís potential to assist low-income Tennesseans while simultaneously assisting issues with healthcare deficits.

Haslam also spoke about his administrationís efforts and hopes surrounding the upcoming changes to primary, secondary and collegiate education throughout Tennessee.

Tennessee Ready (TN Ready) will be replacing the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) standardized testing as the assessment tool for students in primary and secondary education levels during the next academic year.

Haslam stated, under TCAP standardized testing, 70 percent of Tennessee students entering college needed remedial work, while 90 percent tested to be proficient with their TCAP results.

Under new standards, Haslam said he feels their assessment is greatly important to evaluate and prolong their success.

Primary and Secondary education instructorsí assessments will rely on TN Ready results for 35 percent. Haslam projected that 100,000 more students will be proficient at their grade level and 57,000 more students will be proficient in math and science.

Haslam said he hopes TN Ready will better prepare students for higher education and the soon-to-be implemented Tennessee Promise will enable those students to attend community colleges across the state.

Governor Haslam took five questions following his speech, three of which concerned the Tennessee Promise.

Amanda Clark, a student from Austin Peay State University, asked the governor about his plans assisting four-year universities to compensate or combat the loss of enrollment resulting from community college freshman and sophomore influx of Tennessee Promise applicants.

ìFour-year universities need to step up their game, so to speak. These universities will have more junior and senior students to compensate for the loss in their larger introductory courses,î replied Haslam.

Additionally, Haslam spoke about the responsibility of four-year universities to differentiate themselves from community college campuses to recruit incoming freshmen and that their efforts to recruit may become more focused on community colleges as opposed to high schools.

Volunteer State Community College student, Michael Clark, questioned the governor about the possible decrease in quality of education as a result of the sudden increase in quantity of students at community colleges.

Haslam projects that state efforts at the primary and secondary levels will prevent this from occurring, but there is no plan to prevent this in place.

Haslam closed questioning and surprised media students with a parting ìselfieî featuring themselves and their governor.

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