The governor says a good teacher can overcome oversized classes:
“Most studies have shown that class size is not as direct a relationship to achievement as people have thought in the past, that having a great teacher with 25 students is better than having a mediocre teacher with 18 students,” Haslam said.
He told the hundreds of rising high-school seniors attending the Volunteer Girls State leadership program that he is “trying to push our education [system] toward making sure we have a great teacher in front of every classroom regardless of the classroom size.”
“That being said,” the governor added, “we can’t deny the fact that larger classes mean less individual attention.”
East Ridge High School student Ja’Keena Dillard told the governor that a “lot of teacher cuts” in Hamilton County schools already are causing rising ratios of teachers to students and the situation will likely worsen.
“We see that as a problem,” she said. “Teachers aren’t able to spend quality time with us.”
The governor is going to roll out his ECD Matrix:
Among other things, the changes are expected to include a “matrix” that quantifies the economic payoffs to the public in order to justify the millions of state taxpayer dollars given to companies either recruited to Tennessee or which are expanding existing operations.
Haslam administration spokesman David Smith declined comment Monday.
But in a House Finance Committee budget hearing earlier in the day, Economic and Community Development Deputy Commissioner Paula Davis told lawmakers that after a “top to bottom” review,” the proposals “will be rolled out later this week. So news will be forthcoming regarding that, also the opportunities involved, regional strategy.
“I just stated earlier we’re focusing on rural development and we have an emphasis on existing businesses,” Davis said. “It’s nice to have the big headlines. It’s nice to have the big companies coming to Tennessee and providing the jobs.”
But she said “it’s also very important in Tennessee that we continue to love all the businesses that are here, that we help them expand and grow in a way so that we can continue to provide jobs to all those rural areas.”
The state is prepared in the event the federal government shuts down:
The state is ready in the event of a government shutdown, House Speaker Beth Harwell said Thursday. Agencies have “taken the necessary steps to draw down as much money as possible, that is legitimately our money, to state government now rather than wait for the kind of emergency situation that might come to be,” she said Thursday.
Gov. Bill Haslam’s office says the administration’s not worried.
“We expect the federal government will pass a budget and not shut down. In the event of a temporary disruption, however, our departments will assess what impact any delay in federal funding would have on programs and services and respond accordingly,” said David Smith, the governor’s spokesman.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, however, will be closed.
The AP reports the minimum pay for Haslam cabinet members is $150,000 - $13,000 higher than the minimum during the Bredesen era - and the maximum pay (currently held by Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman) is $200,000 - $20,000 higher than the highest in the last cabinet.
Said Ramsey: “(Haslam) is 100 percent with me on the electing judges — the fact that, if we are going to continue the system we’re under, we need to amend the constitution.”
“On the collective bargaining,” added the Blountville Republican, “I think (Gov. Haslam) is letting Beth Harwell, the speaker of the House, and myself, work out the differences there. And whatever we pass, he’ll be there to sign it.”
Asked if it surprised or worried him that Speaker Harwell had to take the unusual step of throwing a lifeline to the House’s collective bargaining bill she personally supports by voting for it herself in a subcommittee last Wednesday, Ramsey said not really.
Such dramas are “part of the legislative process,” Ramsey said. “She knew when she appointed the committees who she was putting on those.”
A new legislative liaison for the Air National Guard was a Ron Ramsey campaigner - and he got hired even though the ANG already has a liaison it's happy with:
"He asked if there were any other people who worked hard in my campaign who I would recommend to be legislative liaison, there are probably two dozen legislative liaisons, I think the only name I gave him was James," Ramsey said.
Dunn was hired at the Tennessee Air National Guard, even though they already had a legislative liaison they were happy with, according to Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston.
The current legislative liaison was hired by the Bredesen administration and will keep her job.
Haston indicated he had never met Dunn."I didn't know Mr. Dunn from, you know, from anyone, until I was talked to by the governor's office and they said, ‘We’ve got people that we're going to look at and put in the administration,’" Haston said.
Haston had to do some shuffling to make it work. There weren't any openings for a legislative liaison. There was an open position for a janitor's job at McGhee-Tyson airport in east Tennessee, which had been open for 31 months.That empty position, with a top pay of around $30,000, was turned into a legislative liaison job in Nashville with a top salary of about $40,000.