TN Governor Bill Haslam Tells Teachers He's Worried About Students Not Thinking Critically

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Governor Bill Haslam told some top Tennessee teachers Wednesday what scares him most in an increasingly divided country. He's worried about kids thinking critically. 

His comments came at a teacher summit near Nashville. With only 18-months left in office, the Governor is often more candid than ever about key issues affecting every Tennessean.

“What scares me the most about our country right now is we don't have people who are really doing the hard work to think, and I think you learn how to think in school,” says Haslam.

In front of top K-12 teachers from all over Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam lauded them for leading recent gains made by their students, but he shared deep concerns about a nation divided too, where too many people are paying attention to things only supporting their point of view. 

“One of my fears in the world, er, the nation as we grow more and more divided, is that we only talk to people who look like them and talk like them,” says Haslam. “One of the benefits of education is to teach children to think about ‘what do I believe, why do I believe that to be true.’”

The Governor said he wants teachers like these to see their role as not just about learning numbers or history. A Memphis middle school teacher embraces it.

“One of my biggest goals in the classroom is to teach our kids how to be critical thinkers: give them the information, let them analyze it, let them dissect it, let them ask questions, because ultimately they leave my classroom,” says Tamera Malone.

The teacher summit was organized by the statewide education group called SCORE. It’s looking at ways top teachers can have more of a voice in both education and their communities.


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