Friday, January 28, 2011

Governor Ramsey: To reform education, we must organize to match TEA.

Last night, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey spoke to a group of conservative leaders and laid out a conservative agenda. He was speaking to Conservative Groups of Middle Tennessee which is a loose coalition of conservative, Republican, Libertarian, and Tea Party leaders in middle Tennessee. The group has no officers or agenda, but provides a networking opportunity for right-of-center leaders in the area. . Last night’s meeting was at Logan’s Roadhouse on Elliston place and the meeting room was packed.

Governor Ramsey spoke at length about the Republican agenda, including cutting the size of state government and improving education. Ramsey was enthusiastic and energetic. He spoke for about fourty-five minutes and took questions for about as long. He said with a Republican governor and Republicans controlling both houses of the State Legislature, Republicans had a rare opportunity to put Republican ideas into practice and prove we can govern.

He stressed the need to mobilize citizens to counter the lobbing power of the Tennessee Education Association. He said some recently elected good conservatives were already starting to get weak in the knees at the prospect of standing up to the TEA. He said TEA is formidable and can flood the State legislature with phone calls and emails at a moment’s notice. Conservative need to increase their cooperation and create a network that can match TEA in mobilizing citizens to lobby their legislators, said Ramsey. He was critical of teacher tenure and teacher collective bargaining and said TEA stood in the way of real education reform.

Ramsey also spoke about the situation in Memphis, where Memphis city schools which have some of the worst schools in the state are attempting to disband and Shelby County which has some of the best schools in the state does not want to have to have to absorb the Memphis failing schools. The State Constitution requires each county to maintain a public schools system but there is no such requirement for cities. In the case of Memphis, the Memphis school system is much larger than the Shelby County school system. He said this is a perfect opportunity for the state to take over a failing school system and use innovation and reform to improve public education.

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