Providing a Quality Education
Under Phil’s leadership as governor, Tennessee made public education a top priority. Working with the legislature, he improved teacher pay and expanded early childhood education. He created the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, a statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to provide free books to children from birth to age five.
Working with teachers and local school systems, Phil and the State Board of Education raised the bar in the classroom to ensure that all students are ready for a career or college and life. On his watch, Tennessee’s academic standards went from being among the lowest in America to among the highest — earning praise from national experts who noted the Volunteer State proved that “states are capable of dramatic reform when the political leadership is committed to focusing public attention on the problem.”
Phil partnered with higher-education leaders to improve workforce development with a focus on college completion. He elevated the profile of Tennessee’s community colleges and colleges of applied technology. He strengthened the relationship between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to give graduate students access to world-class research opportunities. He worked with the Tennessee Board of Regents to establish new facilities and programs, including a pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University.
In the U.S. Senate, Phil will use his decades of experience in K-12 and higher education to push policies that support states and strengthen America’s public schools.