Does Tennessee’s Governor Respect Public School Teachers?

A disturbing pattern of behavior

Andy Spears
2 min readJul 5, 2022


Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

I reported over at Tennessee Education Report about all the outrage last week related to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee sitting silently while one of his advisors on education policy publicly disparaged public school educators.

While the reactions to Lee’s remarks were swift and filled with righteous anger, the fact that Lee falls in line with attacks on public education should come as no surprise.

He’s made clear where teachers stand in his funding priorities, for example:

Heck, even before he was a candidate for Governor, he was funding Betsy DeVos’s pro-privatization political group and extolling the virtues of vouchers:

Nashville education blogger TC Weber explains it this way:

It’s not that the actions aren’t egregious, they most certainly are, it’s more that we haven’t taken Lee and his lackeys at face value for years now. Content to hear what we want, instead of what’s actually been said. Allowing the Governor to pass more laws that limit teachers, while passing off crumbs as a meaningful investment in teacher salaries.

What we are doing now is akin to waiting until March to approach the school bully, who’s been taking our lunch money all year, and demanding an apology because we heard them call us weak pushovers. We are not concerned about the missing lunch money, just show us some damn respect.

DAMMIT REF! I’M MAD! — Dad Gone Wild (

So, no, Gov. Lee is no respecter of public school educators or public schools, for that matter. This is not news; he’s just being much more explicit in his disdain.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .