Haslam tells teachers what scares him most in a divided country

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Haslam told some top Tennessee teachers Wednesday what scares him most about an increasingly divided country.

He worries about preparing kids to think critically, but teachers can make a difference.

“What scares me the most about our country right now is we don’t have people who are really doing the hard work to think–and I think you learn how to think in school,” said Gov. Haslam during a forum sponsored by the statewide education group SCORE.

(Photo: WKRN)

In front of top K-12 teachers, identified as leaders from all over Tennessee, the governor lauded them for leading recent gains made by their students, but he shared deep concerns about a nation divided where too many people pay attention to things only supporting their point of view.

“One of my fears the nation as we grow more and more divided is that we only talk to people who look like them and talk like them,” the governor said afterwards to reporters. “One of the benefits of education is to teach children to think about ‘what do i believe and why do i believe that to be true.’ ”

Haslam also said he wants teachers to see their role as not just about teaching numbers or history.

Memphis middle school teacher Tamera Malone says she and many others are already embrace getting kids to think critically.

“One of my biggest goals in the classroom is to teach our kids how to be critical thinkers,” the teacher told News 2. “Give them the information, let them analyze it, let them dissect it, let them ask questions because ultimately that’s what they need to when they leave my classroom.”

SCORE CEO Jamie Woodson said the group is looking at ways the top teachers can have more of a voice both in improving education and their communities.