NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Tennessee Teachers’ Colleges Call on Governor Bill Lee to Repudiate His Charter School Friend’s Derogatory Comments That Public School Teachers Come From “The Dumbest Parts of the Dumbest Colleges” , according to a letter obtained by NewsChannel 5 is investigating.

The letter to Lee from the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE) cites NewsChannel 5’s hidden camera video of a private reception where Lee joined Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn on stage while Arnn asserted that “you don’t have to know anything” to get a degree in education. Arnn also claimed that education departments train teachers to indoctrinate students.


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As NewsChannel 5 survey reported, the video shows that Lee never defended teachers or teacher education programs at that reception, and no spokesperson for the governor’s office offered a repudiation of Arnn’s words.

Lee invited Arnn and Hillsdale College to establish taxpayer-funded private charter schools throughout the state. Arnn’s plan: “to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert to educate a child, because anyone can do it.”

“While we have not seen unedited video of this meeting, this report did not show a response from you in defense of Tennessee teachers,” TACTE President David Cihak wrote in the post. letter sent Friday.

“We urge you to stand up for teachers and professional educators.

“Dr. Arnn’s comments insult Tennesseans dedicated to teaching and learning, as well as thousands of students across the state who are pursuing programs with the goal of becoming professional educators.”

Read the letter below:

TACTE represents all public, private, and independent education readiness providers in Tennessee.

Cihak is a professor of special education at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, as well as associate dean of professional licensing and director of the CEHHS Graduate School of Education, according to his biography.

The letter states that “Tennessee’s standards for becoming a teacher are among the highest in the nation.”

“Devaluing and insulting these educators is not in the best interests of the children, the economy, or Tennessee’s reputation,” Cihak wrote.

“We support the Tennessee teachers our schools prepare. We urge you to do the same.”

The letter also argues that Arnn’s statements “underplay a fundamental tenet of our democracy – the importance of education.”

“Schools, like many professions and industries right now, are grappling with persistent vacancies and hard-to-fill positions,” Cihak added.

“Dr. Arnn’s divisive rhetoric undermines efforts to recruit individuals into the profession at a time when teachers are desperately needed.

“His statements are especially heartbreaking to future teachers who are inspired to help create an even brighter future for school children in Tennessee.”


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