Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Bryson Bulletin

Bryson Unveils "Graduate Tennessee" Education Plan

Tennessee's graduation rankings have plummeted under the leadership of Gov. Bredesen. Jim Bryson has stated that it's his goal to graduate every Tennessee student from high school. This week Bryson unveiled his "Graduate Tennessee" education plan. The Commercial Appeal reported that Bryson's "Graduate Tennessee" plan would:

Create a community grants program totaling $100 million over four years for grants to local schools for their own programs to improve graduation rates. In return for flexibility in designing their own programs, the schools would be held accountable for improving graduation rates.

Create a teacher-retention pay program that would make bonus pay available to all school staff in high-performing schools.

Provide matching grants to school districts, funded from excess Tennessee Lottery proceeds, to pay for school renovations in districts that cannot afford them.

Expand charter school options. Currently, state law limits the type and number of charter schools -- public schools that receive state and local funding but that are exempt from many state education regulations.

Allow teachers to use payroll deduction to join the union of their choice.

Restructure the state Department of Education to serve more as a "resource for local school systems."

Create partnerships with business and community leaders to improve local schools, and create an advisory council of volunteer education leaders that would evaluate problems with graduation rates and recommend ways to improve.

Bryson Promotes Charter Schools

The Nashville City Paper covered Jim Bryson's recent visit to the Smithson Craighead Academy, a successful Nashville charter school. Expanding charter schools is part of Bryson's "Graduate Tennessee" education plan.

Commercial Appeal Calls on Bredesen to "Open His Books"

In an editorial, the Commercial Appeal called on Governor Bredesen to join Jim Bryson in releasing his full tax returns to the public:

Gov. Phil Bredesen has been around politics long enough to understand the importance of public perceptions.

When he decides to withhold information about his tax returns, it could create a perception that he's got something to hide.

Jim Bryson, Bredesen's opponent in the Nov. 7 election, has released all forms, schedules and worksheets related to his federal income taxes for the last four years.

Bredesen hasn't been willing to go that far, though. Bredesen released his 1040 forms for the 2002, 2003 and 2004 tax years and provided some basic information about his as yet un-filed 2005 tax return. But he refused to make available tax schedules that have details about his investments, business holdings and charitable giving.

More Bredesen Scandals....

Bryson Calls on Bredesen to Investigate Questionable Loan

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on Tuesday that Jim Bryson called on Governor Bredesen to immediately begin a full and independent investigation of Economic and Community Development head Matt Kisber for questionable loans from a lobbyist to a company on whose board Kisber sat. WKRN News 2 investigative reporter Trent Siebert broke the story:

Commissioner Matthew Kisber, when he was chairman of the powerful state House Ways and Means Committee, accepted more than $1 million in loans for a company on which he sat on the board of directors. The loan money came from a lobbyist doing business in front of Kisber's committee.

Bredesen spokesman Will Pinkston told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Governor Bredesen "has every confidence" in Commissioner Kisber.


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