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.
The AR Retreat is an annual event to train local Association Representatives (ARs) how to recruit and retain members and build a network of teachers ready for action to promote public education within their local associations.
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.
A bill that would have massively expanded the special education voucher program was defeated in a house subcommittee. If passed, the program would have expanded fourfold what TEA and special education professionals across the state see as an attempt to undermine the gains of inclusion and would have posed a risk to students.
“Stopping the bill at its first vote shows we’re winning the opinion battle in the voucher fights,” said TEA chief lobbyist Jim Wrye. “We can’t rest when it comes to privatization, but it is heartening to see we are beating it earlier and earlier.”
Shelby County Schools teacher and longtime TEA member Melissa Collins was among 50 educators chosen from around the world as finalists for the Global Teacher Prize, awarded in Dubai March 18.
Collins, a second-grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Whitehaven, was recognized by London-based Varkey Foundation, whose goal is to improve education standards for underprivileged children around the world. Collins was chosen from 30,000 applicants in 173 countries based on her effectiveness and inspiring students to learn.