NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister released the following statement after Governor Bill Lee’s 2020 State of the State Address to the joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly:

“Tonight, Governor Lee laid out a bold agenda to continue to drive positive generational change and reach even greater heights of opportunity for Tennessee’s students. Tennessee’s kids have a bright future ahead thanks to the governor’s vision and focus on early literacy, improving teacher pay, training, and professional support, and ensuring students are prepared for college and career. Governor Lee reaffirmed his commitment to public education by setting a goal to make ‘Tennessee the best state in America to be a student.’”

During his speech tonight, Governor Lee committed:

  • A $117 million investment in teacher’s salaries, the most substantial single investment in the state’s history.
  • Raising the minimum salary for teachers from $36,000 to $40,000, statewide.
  • $8.5 million to launch the Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, offering 1,000 scholarships to the state’s brightest high school students to train to become a teacher.
  • An investment of $4 million for professional development and innovation advancement opportunities for educators.
  • A new fund to assist in the growth and placement of mental health support in at-risk schools.
  • A new, comprehensive approach to literacy drawing from proven methods including phonics-based instruction, coupled with a $70 million investment to establish new standards for the training of new teachers and the development of current teachers.