An adult online degree program called Western Governors University officially opens in Tennessee on Tuesday. Lawmakers and even some higher education administrators have had to warm up to the concept.
Legislators were hesitant to spend $5 million to open an office of Western Governors University or WGU. After all, Tennessee’s existing public colleges could have started a similar program, targeting people who have some college credit and never finished a degree. But with prodding from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, it was decided WGU could do a better job.
The Tennessee Senate has signed off on a compromise plan to allow teachers with a law enforcement background to carry a gun to class. But several Republican lawmakers objected, calling the proposal “neutered.”
Bills that would have broadly allowed teachers to go armed failed to get support.
Governor Bill Haslam says he was as surprised as anyone that FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents locked down the headquarters of his family’s company Monday.
“They came in looking for certain records, and that’s all I know,” Haslam told reporters at the state capitol.
The governor remains a primary shareholder in Pilot Flying J, which produces $20 billion in annual revenue. He stepped down as president of the company in 1998 to pursue another business venture and eventually enter politics.
A proposal meant to put more armed guards in Tennessee schools has begun moving forward in the General Assembly. It offers money for schools to hire retired police officers and allows teachers with law enforcement backgrounds to carry a gun to class.
Whether a retired officer hired part-time as a security guard or a teacher already on the payroll, both would have to go through at least 40 hours of special training.
Republican lawmakers who’ve tried for years to divert public education money to pay private school tuition say they won’t give up. Wednesday Gov. Bill Haslam yanked his proposal from consideration because legislators wanted to expand it.
The governor’s bill would have started small, limiting school vouchers to poor students in failing schools. Others have been looking at something many times larger for middle class families. Sen. Brian Kelsey has led the voucher push.
“This was definitely a minor set back and disappointing that the governor pulled his support, but I am fully committed to helping these low income children get the quality education that they deserve. There are other vehicles out there that are available,” he said.