Alexander the Not-So-Great

July 7, 2016:

For their leadership and significant contributions to public education, today, the National Education Association bestowed its highest honor the Friend of Education Award upon Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, and Washington Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, before more than 7,000 educators gathered at the NEA 95th Representative Assembly (RA) in Washington.

“The hard work and bipartisan cooperation of Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to pass ESSA will ensure that all students regardless of ZIP code will have equal opportunity to a high-quality public education for years to come”, said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “They were instrumental not only in the passing of the critical K-12 federal education law, but they listened, they set the tone of bipartisan cooperation, and they got the job done on behalf of the nations students and educators. Their bold leadership ushered a new chapter in public education, one in which educators have a seat at the table to make decisions that affect their students and classrooms. We are honored and grateful to call them an NEA Friend of Education.”

January 26, 2017:

The National Education Association today issued its Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress, which assesses votes and other relevant legislative actions from January 2015 through December 2016. The Report Card tracks individual members of Congress overall support for public education, students and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A through F.

(Senator Alexander received an A.)

January 27, 2017:

Some teachers in Middle Tennessee are angry and frustrated with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., because they say the lawmaker hasn’t listened to their concerns about his support for Betsy DeVos as the country’s education secretary.

More than 150 people protested outside Alexander’s Nashville office Friday evening ahead of DeVos’ confirmation vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

…”I tried to call Sen. Alexander’s office five times over the past week. It was busy every single time,” said Mary Holden, member of education advocacy group TREE and a former high school teacher. “I did send an email and got his standard response, which isn’t helpful.”

“And I’m here today — I don’t know how else to reach him other than to keep trying,” Holden said. “But I don’t think it will make a difference with him. He seems really adamant that she’s qualified.”

Representatives from the Tennessee Education Association, Metro Nashville Education Association, Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment, the Middle Tennessee Coalition Advocating for Public Education and Tennessee Citizen Action, as well as Rep. Bo Mitchell, D- Nashville, and Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, also attended the protest.