Haslam Says Shift Focus from Courtroom to Classroom

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(Memphis) Governor Bill Haslam spent the day in Memphis talking with teachers involved in the Memphis Teacher Residency program. This teacher effectiveness program prepares educators to teach in urban cities like Memphis, a school district that will now officially merge with Shelby County now that Federal Judge Hardy Mays ruled forming municipal schools in the suburbs is unconstitutional.

“I think it was a fairly clear decision. I think at this point and time I want to be encouraging everybody let's leave the courtroom behind and lets go sit down and have the conversations that we need to prepare,” said Haslam.

A lot has gone into fighting the merger. Haslam says now it’s time to shift the focus.

“There's no way this hasn't been a distraction to all of us as adults and to people running the schools to teachers and students. I just can't believe that hasn't impacted student performance in some way,” said Haslam.

Some Shelby County lawmakers hint they will look at changing how charter schools are formed when they return to session in Nashville this January but so far they haven’t said if they’ll try to introduce any legislation that would stop or impede the progress of the 2013 merger.

“I'm not going to say we should totally preclude any other action happening but I really want the focus to be now let's go back to teaching in classrooms,” said Haslam.