Knox Mayor Stresses Education to Business Leaders

Knoxville (WVLT) - Education can be a key to your success, but it goes much further than that. Good schools can also determine a community's success.

Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud tells you why Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and others say educational success at an early age is more directly linked to our future than you may think.

These Knoxville business leaders likely weren't thinking about the success of the companies they would one day own or work for when they were in elementary school. However, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale is stressing to them that what children learn at a very early age will affect their business success in the future.

"If children aren't reading on grade level by third grade, that is a sign they very likely may not get caught up," Ragsdale said.

"We're all trying to staff our business and make sure we're successful and of course the main ingredient to that success is people. We've got to make sure those folks getting out of school, be it your primary or secondary education systems are primed for that success," said Mitchell Steenrod, the CFO for Pilot Travel Centers.

To strengthen the direct link between our business and education community Ragsdale asked them to become directly involved. He suggested being a volunteer with the Read With Me program and asked them to email Governor Bredesen about our basic education funding formula. Ragsdale says it short changes Knox County students.

"Right now Knox County children receive 800 dollars less per child from the state than the average. When you multiply that by the 53 thousand Knox County school children, that is 40 million dollars," Ragsdale said.

With test scores high and our ACT scores higher than the state and national average, no doubt Knox County is moving in the right direction.
However, Ragsdale says we must raise the bar so our children are in competition not just with neighboring cities and states but other countries as well.
Mayor Ragsdale says it's not just businesses that can help the schools.
Each member of the community has an obligation.
There are programs that can get you involved.