Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney has joined a growing coalition of Tennessee municipal and county mayors in support of the advancement of early education as a priority to address deficient reading and math scores for most third-grade students in Tennessee’s public schools.

Chesney joins nearly 120 Tennessee municipal and county mayors who form a mayoral coalition organized by Tennesseans for Quality Early Education, a statewide, bipartisan advocacy organization.

“It is a fact of life that to attract good paying jobs to our area, we must have a skilled workforce,” Chesney said. “What many people don’t think about is that building those workforce skills starts with development early in life through learning to read, solving math problems and learning how to get along with others.”

“We can and must do a better job of educating young Tennesseans in the critical early years of learning to set the stage for success in middle school, high school and beyond,” said TQEE Executive Director Mike Carpenter.

TQEE Mayors’ Coalition actively advocates for expanded investments, policies and programs for early education, from birth to grade three. The coalition believes the state has made significant progress in improving student outcomes, but with overall statewide student proficiency lagging that there is much more to do to improve educational outcomes.

“I strongly urge our state’s leadership to continue supporting early literacy initiatives that will boost student learning and proficiency,” Chesney said. “I believe this program helps our young children to establish a firm foundation for their education journey. I believe we need to continue to improve the quality and expand pre-kindergarten programs across the state and support our teachers with quality training and coaching.”