The victory of passing hold-harmless legislation has members and parents asking what the next step is in addressing the problems of TNReady, confusing portfolios, discrepancies in state scores compared to ACT, and a variety of other critical Tennessee education issues. That step is electing people ready to work on solutions.
“It’s not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about educators,” said Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesboro) on the Nashville five o’clock news. Hill’s statement came during the final battle to remove remaining issues with TNReady data use, and highlighted TEA’s political efforts to build pro-public education majorities in the General Assembly.
The bill requiring Kindergarten and Pre-K teachers are held harmless for portfolio scores in the 2017-18 school year passed both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly unanimously and was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam April 18.
In a historic show of unanimity and bipartisanship, a united Tennessee House of Representatives demanded that teachers are not damaged in any way by the failure of TNReady.
TEA has worked closely with the House, whose leadership has been responsive to members, and it’s the chamber where good things start and bad bill die. Every member is encouraged to thank their representative today.
Before the hold-harmless victory in TN legislature, Tennessee Department of Education issued the following guidance on teacher evaluation.
With TEA support, legislators move quickly to safeguard students, teachers from TNReady failures
The General Assembly passed strong hold-harmless legislation for test data as TEA and parents across the state pushed for relief as TNReady continued to experience problems for another year.
“The legislature made sure students, teachers and schools were protected against the failures of TNReady,” said TEA lobbyist Jim Wrye. “They heard from their districts and they saw the problems, and in the waning days of the session took decisive action.”
TEA and its members are extremely disappointed with the failures and delays of the state online assessment system, TNReady. TEA is calling for a full and accurate accounting of the problems and how they affect students, along with proof that the system is secure and fair to Tennessee’s parents and teachers. The association is calling on lawmakers to hold students, teachers and schools harmless in light of the failures and growing concerns of the state testing system.
A pair of bills seeking to address the disconnect between state money provided for raises and salary increases was discussed extensively in the legislature recently. There is a growing realization on the part of lawmakers that the raises they pass aren’t always getting into the paychecks of Tennessee educators.
TEA continues to urge Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature to “Beat Bama” in teacher pay. With some millions in recurring revenue yet to be allocated, TEA is working to ensure more funds are dedicated to teacher salaries in the final budget version.
The salary increase would be separate from the $30 million announced by the governor in a budget amendment recently, which would go to improving school safety. That amendment includes $25 million in one-time, nonrecurring funds and an additional $5.2 million dedicated to recurring school safety grants.