Pastors highlight moral obligation to fund education for all students
A group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition is calling on the Tennessee General Assembly to take steps to fully fund public schools in the state.
The group notes that public education is one piece of what they call a "moral agenda" for state policy.
Rev. Jason Mikel, pastor of Jenkins Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Nolensville, issued a statement on behalf of the group. In it, he noted that public education makes Tennessee communities stronger.
"No matter where our children live, the color of their skin, their social situation, or anything else, every child deserves access to a high quality education in their local public school," Mikel said. "Our communities are healthier and our communities are stronger when public schools are allocated the resources they need to fulfill their calling. Yet our state ranks nearly last in financial funding for students, teachers, and schools. And it is that way because of the continuing decisions of our state leaders. Governor Lee and our Supermajority Legislature fuel divisions for the purpose of removing resources from our schools. They demonize teachers and librarians. (And who goes after librarians?) Yet they vie for control of our state's classrooms by unnecessarily burdening our educators with their political posturing.
Mikel specifically outlined some education policy decisions he deemed harmful to Tennessee students:
"Society is harmed through punitive laws like the 3rd grade retention law, which punishes teachers and students for that exact lack of funding received by the state. There's even a proposed bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in schools. That's horrific, that's unwise and it's unhealthy."
Mikel and the Southern Christian Coalition say they are calling on Lee and the legislature to focus on proper funding of schools and full support for the state's teachers.
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