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We invite you to meet our state s key lawmakers who will be the first to vote on bills hostile to teachers and public schools. Also in this issue, learn about the nuts and bolts of Tennessee s defined benefit pension plan and why it has been successful in tough economic times; Rutherford Co. teachers talk about their successful membership campaign, TEA members share their bios as they gear up to run for NEA Representative Assembly delegate seats (it's in Chicago this year), Read Across America poster for your classroom, and much more.

TRANSCRIPT

  • Published by the TENNESSEE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION February 2011 Vol. 42, No. 6www.teateachers.org Published by the TENNESSEE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION Published by the TENNESSEE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION February 2011 February 2011 Vol. 42, No. 6 Vol. 42, No. 6www.teateachers.org www.teateachers.org

    Rutherford EA MembersSet Local Record

    page 12

    Meet Key LegislatorsIn 107th General Assembly

    page 3

  • 2 February 2011

    Gera Summerford, President

    Do you have sufficient instructional TIME to meet the needs of your

    students? Do you have access to all the instructional RESOURCES you

    need? Does your school do a good job of communicating with parents

    and COMMUNITY? Are the rules for STUDENT CONDUCT consistently

    followed in your school? Are TEACHERS recognized as educational

    experts and leaders in your school? Does your school LEADERSHIP

    consistently support teachers? Does PROFESSIONAL

    DEVELOPMENT meet the needs of individual

    teachers in your school?

    These are just a few of the questions that

    teachers and administrators in Tennessee will

    have the opportunity to answer during the TELL

    Tennessee survey beginning this month. For the

    first time in our state, we are being asked about

    the conditions in which we work. You may have

    already seen some publicity about it, and we

    know its important to raise awareness and get responses from as many

    people as possible. Every school that has at least 50 percent faculty

    participation will receive a detailed report of the survey results for that

    building, and the data will be included in system-wide and state-wide

    reports.

    The purpose of the survey is to gather information about the teaching

    and learning conditions in Tennessees public schools. Research shows

    that a positive school environment is an important factor in student

    achievement and teacher retention. Some studies show that the learning

    environment can make a 15 percent difference in student outcomes.

    Educators know that when class size is appropriate and instructional

    time is protected, student performance is enhanced. The survey results

    should help school leaders and policy makers recognize patterns relating

    the learning climate to school performance. As part of the First to the

    Top efforts to improve education in our state, we have an opportunity to

    share our expertise in a way that is anonymous and productive.

    No one knows better than teachers about what is needed to maximize

    learning in a school. At this critical time of education reform, we must

    tell what we know so that effective improvements can be realized.

    The survey will be administered by The New Teacher Center, which

    has conducted similar surveys in other states and school systems for

    several years. Through their experience, the online survey will identify

    educators only by the school in which they work, making it otherwise

    anonymous. TEA has been involved in the planning and preparation and

    is confident that the methods of administering the survey will protect

    each individuals privacy.

    As results become available, they will be used to make important

    decisions at the building, system, and state levels. School improvement

    plans, collective bargaining agreements and state educational policy

    may all be impacted by the data gathered through TELL Tennessee.

    School leadership teams will have new information to guide the planning

    and implementation of instructional programs. And throughout the

    process, new conversations and discussions should be spawned at every

    level.

    Now more than ever, educators need to make their voices heard.

    TELL Tennessee provides a powerful tool for members of our profession

    to share our perceptions, knowledge and expertise with those who make

    critical decisions about what happens in our schools. Dont let this

    opportunity pass you by be sure to TELL Tennessee and encourage

    your colleagues to do the same!

    DEVELOPMENT

    teachers in your school?

    teachers and administrators in Tennessee will

    have the opportunity to answer during the TELL

    Tennessee survey beginning this month. For the

    first time in our state, we are being asked about

    the conditions in which we work. You may have

    already seen some publicity about it, and we

    Al Mance, Executive Director

    In the first week of the new legislative session, Rep. Debra Maggart

    (House District 45) and Sen. Dolores Gresham (Senate District 26) have

    filed two bills that strike at the hearts of Tennessees teachers.

    The Maggart bill (HB 130), if passed and signed into law, will end 32

    years of teacher negotiations in this state. For over 100 years before the

    Educators Professional Negotiations Act became law,

    teacher compensation was at the whim of school

    superintendents and local boards of education. Men

    were paid more than women. Caucasian teachers

    were paid more than African-American teachers.

    Secondary school teachers were paid more than

    elementary teachers and friends of the right people

    were routinely paid more than their peers. There was

    no fair and equitable salary schedule. Negotiations

    changed that.

    The Gresham bill (SB 102) would replace the

    ability of teachers to select the teacher representatives to the TCRS Board

    of Trustees with appointments by the Speakers of the Senate and House

    of Representatives. Teachers who contribute to the system would have

    no voice in determining who represents them on their retirement board.

    Instead, politicians who are not members of the system would make that

    determination.

    As of this writing, no bills have been filed to support teachers in

    getting the job done in the classroom. Nothing has been introduced that

    would enhance teaching and learning in our schools and classrooms.

    Everything talked about so far is about restrictions and loss. It is

    ironic that this comes at a time when teachers are asked to work harder

    and smarter in order to help our students achieve ever more rigorous

    standards.

    All of us recall a period in our lives that we term the good old days.

    When we look closely, however, we realize those good old days never really

    were. In the fictional good old days, teachers had even lower salaries, no

    voice in determining education policy and only a fraction of boys and girls

    graduated from high school compared to today.

    Teachers will not sit still while some legislators attempt to take

    the teaching profession and public education back to a simpler but less

    effective time.

    Media reports indicate Gov. Bill Haslam intends to make public

    education a key component of his agenda. Our experience with the former

    mayor of Knoxville has shown him to be a thoughtful man. We believe he

    wants to make a positive difference in public education and the lives of all

    Tennesseans. We will be meeting with the governor to understand what he

    wants to accomplish, and we will let him know what teachers believe will

    be helpful in educating Tennessees students. We anticipate working with

    Gov. Haslam to improve our public schools.

    Some legislators appear to be preparing to pass anti-teacher and anti-

    TEA legislation because they think they can. They suggest it will return us

    to the good old days. However, laws with no socially redeeming value are

    inherently destructive and represent abuses of discretion and power.

    Tennessees teachers will not be silenced. TEA will rise to fight to

    protect the hard-won rights some misguided forces seem willing to

    eliminate. No professional teacher can sit this out.

    You count.

    Teachers Must Not Return To the Good Old Days That Never Were

    teacher compensation was at the whim of school

    superintendents and local boards of education. Men

    were paid more than women. Caucasian teachers

    were paid more than African-American teachers.

    Secondary school teachers were paid more than

    elementary teachers and friends of the right people

    were routinely paid more than their peers. There was

    no fair and equitable salary schedule. Negotiations

    changed that.

    Be Ready to TELL Tennessee

    Speaking Out for Youteach (USPS 742-450) is published monthly (except for June, July and December) by the Tennessee Education Association, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville TN 37201-1099. Periodical postagepaid at Nashville, TN. The subscription price of $3.65 isallocated from annual membership dues of $254.00 for active members; $127.00 for associate, education support and staff members; $16.00 for retired mem-bers; and $10.00 for student members. Member of State Education Editors Conference (SEE).

    Postmaster: Send address changes to teach,

    801 Second Avenue North,Nashville, TN 37201-1099.

    MANAGING EDITOR: Alexei Smirnov asmirnov@tea.nea.org

    PUBLISHER: Alphonso C. ManceMANAGER OF COMMUNICATIONS: A.L. Hayes

    Tennessee Education Association801 Second Avenue NorthNashville, TN 37201-1099

    Telephone: (615)242-8392, Toll Free: (800)342-8367, (800)342-8262

    Fax: (615)242-7397Web site: www.teateachers.org

    BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT: Gera Summerford* (800)342-8367VICE PRESIDENT: Barbara Gray* (901)353-8590SECRETARY-TREASURER: Alphonso C. Mance (615)242-8392DISTRICT 1 Karen Anderson* (423)610-6030DISTRICT 2 Melinda Reese (423)587