U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) addressed the current and former students of the Governor’s School of International Studies this evening in celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary at the University of Memphis.
“When I was governor of Tennessee, I traveled with then-Speaker Ned McWherter to see the good work happening in North Carolina’s schools for exceptional students,” Alexander said. “We took that knowledge and brought it back to Tennessee to create the first summer residential school for outstanding students and teachers. Now, there are nine schools throughout Tennessee that host the best and brightest students each summer. With over 80 tenth and eleventh graders attending the international studies program each year and going on to prominent roles in their communities, the Memphis school is a model for producing tomorrow’s leaders.”
Alexander spoke to the group of international studies students and teachers about the growing global economy in India and China, and emphasized the importance of finding innovative ways to educate exceptional students. He outlined provisions in the America COMPETES Act – a measure co-authored by Alexander that passed the Senate this spring – that would establish new summer teachers’ academies for math and science.
“One of the best ways to grow our ‘brainpower advantage’ is to have more programs like this one across the country for all topics, but especially for math and science,” Alexander said. “The world has noticed our standard of living. Places like India and China are figuring out that the best way to get and keep high paying jobs and improve their economy is to improve education. Tennessee and the rest of our country need to do the same.”
Alexander pointed out that he and Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN-5) are leading an effort to pass this legislation that will:
Provide scholarships for 400 future Tennessee math & science teachers
Establish summer academies for hundreds of teachers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and universities across the state
Create training and support programs for Advanced Placement courses
Enable high-tech student internships at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis and other research facilities across the state
The Tennessee Governor’s Schools were established in 1985 by then-Governor Alexander as part of his agenda to improve education standards across the state. During his tenure as governor, Alexander helped Tennessee become the first state to pay teachers more for teaching well by creating the Master Teacher program. As the Chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA), Alexander began "Time for Results," the NGA’s five-year initiative to create better schools and highlighted (?) his work in the Volunteer state.
“My good friend Alex Haley used to say, ‘Find the good and praise it,’” Alexander said, “and the Governor’s School programs have been shining examples in Tennessee for over 20 years. I hope that there will be more opportunities in Tennessee and around the nation to recognize, reward and educate the best and brightest.”
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