published Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Gov. Haslam signs tenure bill into law

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam signed his teacher tenure bill into law today, predicting the effect of his first major piece of legislation “will be felt for many, many years.”

A short while earlier, the House Education Committee approved Haslam’s other major education bill, which would expand charter schools in Tennessee.

Surrounded solely by GOP legislative leaders, Haslam, also a Republican, said the teacher tenure law continues the efforts of education reform initiated last year by his predecessor, Democrat Phil Bredesen, and the General Assembly.

“One of the reasons this is so important because so much is at stake,” Haslam said, later noting that “three years is too short a time to grant something that’s such a great privilege like tenure. I think the bar had been set too low in term of as having objective criteria ... [on] who got tenure and this bill addresses that.”

The bill increases from three years to five years the time it takes for a teacher to qualify for tenure. It also requires new teachers to be granted tenure only if they fall within the top two ranks of a five-tiered evaluation system built in large part on student test scores.

No teachers nor Democrats were at the signing of the bill, held in the state Capitol. Most Democrats opposed the measure, which goes into effect July 1.

The 52,000-member Tennessee Education Association repeatedly raised unsuccessful objections to the tenure bill. They argued that development of objective tests for as many 60 percent of teachers has not been completed. Instead, many teachers face being judged not on the performance of students they teach but on the performance of the entire school, which teachers say is unfair.

Speaking to reporters later, Haslam said he has told teachers and administrators across the state that “this is too important just to keep pushing off until it we get it perfect. I think we have an evaluation committee that’s worked hard to get this right, and we will continue to evaluate the evaluations.”

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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Leaf said...

Poor teachers. Whose next? The CEOs? Hmm. Probably not.

April 12, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Humphrey said...

I'm still confused. I thought that just a few days ago they had to pass a bill "shielding" teachers who taught creationism in science class. Why did they have to do this if the teachers could get tenure and couldn't be fired?

April 12, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.
teach_them_all said...

Humphrey, tenure does not mean that a teacher cannot be fired. Tenure is the right to a hearing or due process should a teacher's ability to perform his/her duties come into question. Teachers can be fired regardless of tenure as long as the administrator does his/her job.

As to this particular law, I am having difficulty comprehending how it takes 5 years to obtain tenure and only 2 years to lose it.

April 12, 2011 at 8:16 p.m.
Oz said...

"The legislation, SB 1528/HB 2012, changes a teacher’s probationary period before becoming eligible for tenure from three to five years as well as links tenure status to performance evaluations, "utilizing Tennessee’s extensive student data that is the envy of states around the nation," he said.

The legislation also gives principals the flexibility to keep a non-tenured teacher after the five-year period. Previously a teacher would either receive tenure or be fired after three years."

The old bill forced bad teachers out. Now we can keep them!

Source: http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_198824.asp

April 12, 2011 at 8:37 p.m.
wnwr1 said...

What will happen is the public school system will lose teachers. 1st. they will not be able to reach the governors criteria (they can not turn children away), 2nd with the expansion of the charter schools(they can take what children they want), those who can afford to leave will, in turn public schools get weaker, and the privilaged keep spreading the gap between the have's and the have not's.

April 12, 2011 at 9:12 p.m.
bpqd said...

Another poor decision from the tax evading hypocrite, Governor Haslam. His first decision was to fail to enforce environmental laws on his own business of Big Oil distribution. Now, he attacks working teachers.

How disgusting. We are suffering from a severe economic crisis which includes our failures to get the homework done. We are among the bottom 25% of our nation in retaining college graduates. No wonder. Look at the illiterate and ignorant people who are running business today.

If you want to see them, have a look at the golf course at the Chattannooga Golf and Country Club at 10:30 on Monday mornings. Many, many Governor Haslam supporters will be there: not working.

It is time for us to rid ourselves of these ignorant freeloaders destroying the economy, namely the under-educated self-serving and selfish people like Governor Haslam and his Republican business cronies.

Support education. It is our chance to improve ourselves and our community. Deliberately attacking it as a public ploy to suck up to some advertising money donors, as Governor Haslam has just done, is reprehensible. Vote this Big Oil self-server out of office as soon as possible.

Our teachers deserve much better support than this. We need to quintuple our educational spending. Raise the money by taxing Governor Haslam's business first. Be sure to tax his gas stations into a non-profit organization.

Then, he might understand what it's like to be a teacher.

April 13, 2011 at 7:14 a.m.
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