NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 11, 2015)— Mayoral candidate Megan Barry today released the following open letter to the supporters of Jeremy Kane regarding college access and success:
"Over the course of this year's campaign, I have gotten to know Jeremy Kane and came to admire his passion as a social entrepreneur who set out to help kids achieve their full potential. The accomplishments of students, families and teachers at LEAD Public Schools are testaments to Jeremy's vision. I'm especially impressed by LEAD's commitment to college access and success. I want Jeremy and his supporters to know that I am committed to ensuring that all students in Metro Nashville Public Schools are ready for a career or college — and life.
"Developing a college-going culture in our schools is a key to the future vitality of Nashville, which is Tennessee's fastest-growing local economy. We know from a recent report by the Nashville Public Education Foundation that nearly 60 percent of new jobs created in Nashville will require a bachelor's or master's degree. These include jobs in the healthcare, finance, professional services, and information technology fields. Of the remaining jobs that don't require at least four years of college — including positions in government, law enforcement, administrative support, and trades and construction — many still will require some level of postsecondary completion, such as a two-year college degree or vocational training certificate.
"As an economic imperative, the Foundation has called on our community expand efforts to bolster college access and success, with an eye toward capitalizing on statewide investments in this area. Specifically, the Foundation called for our community to surround kids with the supports that not only help them start college but also persist to earn a two- or four-year degree. This is in line with Governor Haslam's free community college initiative and his Drive to 55 Alliance to equip 55 percent of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate by 2025.
"The good news is: We know from the experiences of LEAD and organizations like the Tennessee College Access and Success Network, which is pioneering new ideas with UBS and the Clinton Global initiative, that college access work is not a cost-intensive endeavor. Minimal resources, targeted properly and with support from the business community, can help us maintain and expand the skilled workforce that will help create a better quality of life for all Nashvillians. I look forward to working with all of you to make this a reality.
Candidate for Mayor”