Education Crosses Party Lines

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Education crosses all barriers and effects every single person as citizens of Hamilton County, Tennessee, and our country.  

In August, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the results of a statewide survey of likely voters in Tennessee’s 2018 gubernatorial primary elections. Among Democrats and Republicans surveyed, the results show improving the quality of education is a top priority for all voters across the state. It was also a good reminder for me that we are all in this together.   

During the survey, participants were asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who supports education reform. The majority of surveyed voters from both parties said they would be more likely to support a candidate who supports the following education reforms: expansion of early workforce training, higher academic standards, improved early learning opportunities, increased teacher pay, teacher evaluations, and statewide testing that correlates with what is being taught in the classroom.  

That's the role of the Chattanooga 2.0 movement:  bring the community-- teachers, administrators, non-profits, businesses, community leaders-- together for a focused use of resources that supports significant improvement in access to opportunities for all children in Hamilton County.  From early childhood through high school to preparation for college or career, we must come together to provide our children with the tools to succeed. 

According to the 10 urgent priorities developed through our 100 Days of Community Engagement and published in our latest Chattanooga 2.0 report, we must take advantage of state workforce initiatives and make accessible the most up-to-date information on high-demand careers, so we can ensure our residents are workforce ready and trained in an area to help them prosper.  Our state is the national leader in supporting postsecondary opportunities for high school graduates and adults through initiatives like Drive to 55 and Tennessee Promise.  But we must look at ways as a state to expand these initiatives to support increased dual enrollment opportunities for high school students.  We have the ability to support students in obtaining industry credentials or complete a good deal of college coursework before they graduate, but current legislation limits the number of classes that are free to students.  That means that students whose families have the means to pay for additional courses have a decided advantage.  

It’s evident from the SCORE poll results that postsecondary issues like this are important to most voters, so it is the perfect time to look at ways to expand some of the great programs we have in place at the state and local level.  There is a movement, among not only Chattanoogans but across the entire state, to improve our educational outcomes for all students. With the help of teachers, businesses, faith-based organizations, and community partners, we, as voters, can ensure education becomes a top priority for our elected officials.  

Our new superintendent of schools, Dr. Bryan Johnson, and his staff have brought a renewed sense of excitement and visioning for Hamilton County Schools.  Let’s continue to work together as a coalition of stakeholders to support them and capitalize on the voter interest in education.  From cradle to career, we can support and continue to improve our education system and build the smartest community in the South.

Jared Bigham
Executive Director of Chattanooga 2.0

Why I Honor Memorial Day

“Courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation,” wrote David Hume. It takes courage to risk life and limb for our state and country. Norman Schwarzkopf said "It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle."  It is fitting then, ... (click for more)

We Need Strategic Growth On Signal Mountain

As a lifelong resident of Signal Mountain, I am writing this letter to submit to the public record my opposition regarding the rezoning request by Charlotte, N.C. based developer Keith Corporation at 617 Cauthen Way.   The more I have learned about the potential rezone in the heart of Signal Mountain’s town center to permit a large-scale “big-box” grocery, the more ... (click for more)

Witnesses Say Donaldson Was Calm After Killing Son-In-Law - "I'm Just Sitting Here Waiting For The Law"

Witnesses said Glen Allen Donaldson was calm after killing his son-in-law on Dec. 29, 2016, saying, "I'm just sitting here waiting for the law." Donaldson, 57, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 39-year-old Adam Levi. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole was told that Donaldson left the residence on Niles Terrace where Levi was living and drove ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Served Time For Attempted Murder Now Facing Armed Robbery Charge

A Chattanooga man who earlier served time for an attempted first-degree murder is now facing an armed robbery count. Garion Devilliar Lewis Jr., 33, of 6409 Rosemary Dr., is charged with aggravated robbery as well as drug and gun counts. In an incident on May 9, a man who no longer lives in Chattanooga said he was leaving his mother's residence on Sholar Avenue when he saw ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Rallies In 10th To Beat William Blount, 7-4, In Class 3A State Softball

(Story will be updated with Ooltewah's second game) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – In muggy humidity and searing heat, Ooltewah’s Lady Owls gutted out a heart-stopping 10-inning 7-4 victory over William Blount in the opening round of the TSSAA Class 3A state softball tournament Wednesday. It was every bit as difficult as it sounds. The Lady Owls (37-6) were down to their ... (click for more)

Baylor, McCallie Both Win In D-II Baseball

LEBANON, Tenn. – It will be another Baylor-McCallie battle here at Wilson Central High School Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 in the winner’s bracket of the Division II-AA baseball state championship. Baylor opened play with an 8-2 victory over Christian Brothers while McCallie posted an impressive 5-1 win over Memphis University School in the second game, despite having to sit ... (click for more)