The new education commissioner, Kevin Huffman, is tasked with guiding and implementing the much-needed reforms that are at the heart of the education initiatives moving through the General Assembly. Following the swearing-in ceremony, key leaders of the House of Representatives released statements applauding the commissioner’s appointment.
The speaker stated, “I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Huffman to ensure Tennessee students have every opportunity at their fingertips and every classroom has a great teacher at the helm. His background of strong reform will build on the momentum we currently have here to make our schools even better. Strong schools lead to job growth and prepare the next generation for our global economy. The Education Committee chairman said, “I look forward to working with Commissioner Huffman over the coming years to enact an agenda that is both visionary and attainable. Raising the standards for student achievement and teacher excellence is a laudable goal and I am confident we will reach it.”
Huffman is the former executive vice president of Teach for America, a nationwide organization that recruits educators. He is an attorney who taught in the classroom and has a decade of experience as an administrator under his belt.
‘Career Coaches’ unveiled
The governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker last week unveiled three vehicles designed to improve outcomes for those looking for work. Three “Career Coaches” were customized with 10 computer workstations with Internet access, printers, fax machines and flat screen TVs with SMART Board overlays to facilitate classroom instruction. The intent of these roving offices is to bring job matching and training to rural communities that have limited access to a Tennessee Career Center.
The vehicles will be based in Huntingdon, Nashville and Knoxville in order to cover all areas of the state. Each mobile unit will be staffed with three Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development employees who are trained in career counseling and unemployment benefits.
“These mobile career centers will provide Tennesseans across this state with the information, assistance and equipment they need to find jobs and career opportunities,” the speaker said. “Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development employees will provide them with the tools they need to succeed in today’s economy and I applaud Gov. Haslam and Commissioner Davis for making this a priority.”
House enacts major
initiatives for election reform
Last Thursday, the General Assembly passed major legislative initiatives meant to reform how elections are conducted and administered in the Volunteer State.
Taken together, the bills clarify the Tennessee Code to make it consistent with legal precedence that has governed election commissions. The bills also define the responsibilities of administrators of elections and provide greater local oversight over how elections are conducted. These bills ensure there is a concrete route for dealing with concerns raised by election observers.
A central tenet of the majority’s platform is local control. These bills are all representative of that philosophy as they ensure greater access by county officials who can best ensure a free and fair election for the citizens of Tennessee.
(Editor’s Note: Rep. Kevin Brooks serves the 24th Legislative District in Cleveland and Bradley County. He and his wife, Kim, are actively involved in their community and local schools with their two children — Zach, who is attending Lee University, and Elizabeth who attends Cleveland High.)