DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCE CRITICAL GROWTH FUNDS
This month, House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville), State Representative Jay Reedy (R-Erin), and the Tennessee Department of Education announced that Montgomery County Schools has received district growth funding to support education initiatives in Montgomery County.
Specifically, Montgomery County received $3,566,500.
This funding is a direct result of a Republican-led effort to not only fully fund education in Tennessee but also provide an additional $18 million to towards school district growth.
These significant investments in many Tennessee school districts will allow growing schools to maintain the necessary resources, so that they can continue offering quality education for our state’s young leaders.
“Montgomery County has been expanding at a rapid rate and it is critical that our educators have the tools they need to keep up with this growth. I’m always proud to stand with teachers as we work together to provide quality education in Tennessee” said Speaker Johnson.
“My wife is a public school teacher and I have the pleasure of serving on the House Education Instruction & Programs Committee, therefore I know how impactful these growth funds should be for the teachers and students of Montgomery County,” said Representative Reedy.
This funding has been so well received by parents, education officials, and teachers that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam added another $18 million in growth funds to his Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
GOOGLE BREAKS GROUND ON $600M CLARKSVILLE DATA CENTER
The groundbreaking for a new Google data center in Clarksville/Montgomery County, took place last Friday, February 16. The Tennessee data center is part of a $2.5 billion dollar investment Google is making to open or expand data centers in Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Oklahoma. These data centers are what make Google services run for you or your business (in Tennessee alone, Google answer millions of searches a day, and about 18,000 businesses and nonprofits use the search and advertising tools).
GENERAL ASSEMBLY HONORS BLIND VETERANS, AMERICAN HISTORY DURING HOUSE CEREMONY
This week on the House floor, legislators came together to honor Tennessee’s blind veterans as well as pay tribute to all of the men and women who sacrifice themselves for the freedom Americans are able to enjoy on a daily basis during an official ceremony and presentation of the braille American flag.
The House ceremony was led by retired Staff Sgt. Walt Peters, a veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Army, including three tours of duty in Vietnam. Peters lost his sight 15 years ago as a result of exposure to the chemical Agent Orange while serving in Southeast Asia.
Peters first got involved with the braille American flag in 2014 when he was presented with a durable paper replica of the bronze-cast braille flag. Peters, who only sees faint silhouettes, said that gift meant a lot to him and pushed him to set out on a mission to have a bronze braille flag placed in every veterans’ hospital in the country — just over 150. This mission led him to meeting Randolph Cabral, founder of the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute, who created the braille flag to honor his father, Jesus Sanchez Cabral.
Jesus Sanchez Cabral was a decorated U.S. Army Air Corps veteran who served the United States during World War II. Glaucoma robbed him of his sight 10 years before his death. It also hampered Cabral’s ability to post and fly the American flag on his front porch, a duty he cherished as a patriotic veteran.
The braille American flag serves as a valuable teaching and learning aid for instructing blind students about its place in American history. It is composed of braille figures in the upper left corner that represent the stars of the 50 states. They are arranged in nine rows of alternating clusters. The long smooth horizontal lines represent the red stripes. Each red stripe is lined with the appropriate braille dots to indicate the stripe’s color. The long raised textured areas on the flag represent the white stripes. They are also lined with the appropriate braille dots to indicate the stripe’s color.
The American braille flag is a powerful symbol for more than 30 million blind and low vision Americans. In 2008, the United States Congress authorized its placement at Arlington National Cemetery as a tribute to blind veterans. It is displayed by thousands of sighted and blind civilians, veterans, hospitals, memorial parks, elected officials, schools for the blind, and many other places.
LEGISLATION BOLSTERS STATE’S GO BUILD TENNESSEE PROGRAM
Legislation bolstering Tennessee’s Go Build Tennessee Program, which encourages and promotes career opportunities in the construction industry, was approved by House Business and Utilities Committee this week. House Bill 1917 clarifies that the annual 50 percent transfer of revenue from the contractor’s license be used solely for the implementation, administration and management of the non-profit program.
The goal is to encourage and promote career opportunities in Tennessee’s secondary schools, postsecondary schools, colleges of applied technology and community colleges. The Go Build Tennessee website features 109 in-state training programs of the top demanded occupations. These occupations include carpenters, welders, road builders, electricians, masons, equipment operators, plumbers, and pipe fitters and more.
In Alabama, where a similar program which originated in 2010, they have been able to increase construction-related Career and Technical Education (CTE) course enrollments by 24 percent. Tennessee’s Go Build Tennessee Program has communicated with students, parents and teachers in all 95 counties of the state as they widen their efforts to attract more skilled tradesmen to these high demand jobs.
The bill was referred to the House Government Operations Committee where it will be heard next week.
Rep. Curtis Johnson
606 Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN 37243