NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited TSU to talk with students and top education officials about teachers.
"Education is to the point where the students have been impacted more so than any time in our lifetime," said Cardona.
The past two years were tough on students, trying to learn from home, and teachers too. However, Cardona said the administration has learned from the troubles brought by the pandemic.
"We need to start thinking about how the American Rescue Plan can start providing better wrap around services, better support programs, better engagement for families," he said. "We have an opportunity across the country... to determine how to best use those funds to support students in ways that we need. What we're hearing from our students is we need better enrichment after school support."
The secretary was upbeat about the state of Tennessee.
Despite struggles with retaining teachers, historic underfunding of the education funding formula and with ranking low compared to other states, Secretary Cardona said he was reassured the state is heading in the right direction. He said programs like "Grow Your Own", an effort to encourage more people to pursue the teaching profession, were taking Tennessee in the right direction.
Nationwide is another story, he said, every state needs to do better, especially to get new teachers into the profession.
"Across the country, what we're finding is the pandemic is making us pause and realize that we need to do better," he said. "We need to make sure teachers are not working three jobs to make ends meet. We need to make sure that working conditions are conducive to their professional growth and their personal growth."
At the discussion at TSU were teachers in training such as Tanisha Morrow.
"I'm studying special education and I'm obtaining an ESL endorsement," said Morrow.
She's a grad student at TSU.
She's hopeful for her career. She plans to spend in MNPS.
"I believe we are in a great position right now to move education forward and I believe that the secretary has the ability and the resources to move education in the right direction for all students to thrive in our educational system."