Its undercover video — revealed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates — that's had far-reaching impacts. It shows Gov. Bill Lee sitting by as his education advisor disparaged school teachers.
"The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country, and they are taught that they are going to do something," said Hillsdale College president, Larry Arnn.
The reporting by NewsChannel 5 caught the eye of Sharon McMahon — known as "Sharon Says So" on Instagram. The former high school government teacher helps her followers understand current events — especially politics. She's also an advocate for teachers. Her two passions collided when she saw Phil Williams' investigation.
“I mean, I take any insult to the teaching profession, personally, I really do,” McMahon said.
McMahon used the story as a rallying cry for her annual campaign to raise money for teacher grants.
“So, last year we raised $560,000 and this year we have doubled that and raised over $1.2 million. The bulk of it in just one weekend.”
The money will go to more than 2,000 teachers — each receiving $500 to buy items for their classrooms. More than 25,000 teachers have applied for the grants including more than 2,000 from Tennessee.
McMahon has amassed almost a million followers on Instagram. Her community affectionately calls themselves “governerds.”
“We're interested in current events, we're interested in history, we’re a little nerdy about it but in a really positive friendly way.”