published Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Haslam signs bills abolishing teacher collective bargain, permitting corporate contributions

Gov. Haslam
Gov. Haslam

NASHVILLE — Thousands of Tennessee teachers will lose their collective bargaining powers while corporations can now contribute directly to state and local political campaigns under two GOP legislative initiatives signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Both laws take effect immediately.

The teachers bill, which critics said was part of a Republican effort to break the main teachers’ union, the Tennessee Education Association, abolishes collective bargaining now conducted in 92 of 136 school districts.

It replaces traditional bargaining by affiliates of the main teachers union, the Tennessee Education Association, with a concept Republicans called “collaborative conferencing.”

The corporate contribution legislation was opposed by most Democrats. It lets Tennessee join two dozen other states that permit companies to give money to candidates.

Corporations will now be treated like political action committees. The legislation trends forward inflationary impact over the last 15 years contribution limits for individuals and PACs — and now corporations.

Corporate and PAC limits rise from $5,000 to $7,100 for state House contests and from $7,500 to $10,700 for state Senate and statewide contests.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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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enufisenuf said...

Good Law, too many stupid teachers producing stupid students. No teacher should get tenure or immunity for sucking at their job.

June 1, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
earlycse said...

sorry you hate teachers. Not all educators are inept. And this "good law" has nothing to do with tenure. Tenure is alive and well, and justified in a profession so influenced by politics.

June 1, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
dialoger said...

Too bad more of our rights and protections are being taken away. Now, Governor Haslam, please sign the bill to extend unemployment benefits! Over 20,000 Tennessee residents are affected! There just aren't 20,000 jobs out there. The bill is sitting on your desk. Sign it!

June 1, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
ceeweed said...

YEAH! This is sure to attract the best and the brightest to a career in teaching! Politicians and people running for political office need more money... Haslam, you are a genius! Tennessee deserves the best government that money can buy!

June 1, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
llamapop said...

We have all these what I named Tea-Tyrant governors in the mid-section of our country. These teachers in WI, OH, TN etc haven't been "given" anything. Notice the word "bargaining" in the phrase. These folks bargained something to get something. The only problem with bargaining in the public arena are the wishy-washy politicians and school boards who can't take the heat. Now bring into place these new Republican state legislators in these states who campaigned on jobs jobs and now all they can do are the two U's -- unions and uterus's. This is just rampant egos and power-drunk behavior.

June 1, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Wow, teachers unionizing to negotiate class size and benefits = bad. Businesses directly buying politicians = good.

Nice logic there, Bill.

June 1, 2011 at 5:53 p.m.
enufisenuf said...

Tenure , being able to keep your job and not do it at the same time is stupid, but given the lameness of the education system in this country, they will continue to allow dummies to produc dummies.

June 1, 2011 at 7:10 p.m.
moonpie said...

The best government money can buy!

June 1, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.
teach_them_all said...

enufisenuf you are welcome to come teach in my classroom and see if you can do better. I will give you one week to prepare (the same thing I get) and all the materials I have. Also, keep in mind my students are special needs children who have a tendency to become violent. So let me know and I will be happy to get you started.

June 1, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Great laws, my Republican Governor Haslam! Right up there with removing insurance companies from liability under the Tennesssee Consumer Protection Act. Oh yeah, we're making progress!

Now, if you would just make a law where rich Republicans were the only ones that have ANY rights, we can just have it over with and have no need for government at all.

June 1, 2011 at 9:58 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Savarti, this is real progress. Now those poor companies won't have to pay lawyers to find ways to skirt those pesky campaign finance laws. I'm sure they will use the savings to create 5-10 minimum wage jobs and bump up those low executive salaries another 20%.

June 1, 2011 at 11:19 p.m.
iagree said...

Dear Enufisenuf, It is understandable that you have a harsh opinion of teachers. It sounds like the ones you had failed you terribly. Sorry that you are so bitter, but most kids do have good teachers that work very hard. Maybe if you had done your part in your education you would sound a little smarter.

June 1, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

And no mention of this law:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State lawmakers in country music's capital have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend's login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody.

June 1, 2011 at 11:37 p.m.
soreeyes said...

Haslam: Another ultra rich, fat cat Republican bestowing favors to his fellow fat cat, wealthy industrialist, Republican buddies! What did the people who voted him into office expect? It's a shame so many of Tennessee's working middle class are so brainwashed!

June 2, 2011 at 12:41 a.m.
enufisenuf said...

teach tthm all, I will come to your class, but I won't teach them the sanitized stuff the system wants you to teach them, I prefer truth to head patting. How do I contact you and be sure the ones who hike their backsides for you to kiss to get your paycheck approve. Iagree, you must be anomg the dummie teachers riding tenure for a paycheck. I went to school back when the system allowed teachers to teach, show compassion and not ignore the students who weren't easy. The system around here today is more about punishing a student for the slightest infraction, and I have encountered teachers and staff who bald face lie to parents and have forgotten who creates their paycheck. You should look alot closer into the underside of the education system instead of the sugar coated side, I have upped my standards Iagree, now up yours.

June 2, 2011 at 8:06 a.m.
Leaf said...

This is disgusting. I don't understand why Haslam, who is a billionaire, wants to chisel away at teachers or make it easier for corporations to give him even more money. What is the point? He's making education worse and politics more corrupt. I don't understand how anyone can be so misguided and unwise.

June 2, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Dear Enufisenuf and Libertarians4Freedom,

Sure I'll find some bad teachers, but the real problem is that when a teacher seeks to apply discipline the parent(s) come out of the woodwork screaming against the teacher, some even say what their kid does is alright, we do it at home. Look at how the underage drinking parties sponsored by parents gets brushed under the rug in this town.

Collective bargaining put the majority of this country's workers in good stead against super-rich folks like our governor. Guess we will have to go back to the old ways to make the point. I worked for a guy in TN who would find any excuse he could to fire anyone he even suspected of thinking "union" yet he'd go to church, speak at men's groups about what a great Christian he was. If Libertarisn4Freedom thinks he is being judged by his performance he is on drugs or is his own employer.

This country was based on personal freedom against government. The ability to collectively bargain is a freely chosen action to associate and seek redress. Socialism has nothing to do with collective bargaining. Collective bargaining at its most elemental character is a group of people deciding they are of like mind, have some one they trust to speak for them, and ask the person to act on their behalf. I think that is pretty much as American as it gets. Forbidding such action is the antithesis of personal freedom.

June 2, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.
teach_them_all said...

enufisenuf you assume a lot about me without knowing me, my philosophy of education, my teaching style, my education, my life experience, or my students. There is no learning in head patting and you can access the education standards for the state of Tennessee at www.tn.gov/education to see if they are too watered down for you. However, your use of name calling and put downs concerns me. If you cannot communicate effectively with adults without resorting to this type of behavior then you are exhibiting some of the same characteristics as the students with special needs that I teach and would not be a very good role model for them. If you can show improvement in your interactions on these boards I will be happy to get you my contact information. School starts back in Hamilton County on August 10, teachers report August 1.

June 2, 2011 at 4:50 p.m.
LillyMay said...

Life long republican teacher has now decided to never vote for another republican again...I am done with the party that decided to use my profession as the toilet paper they wipe their bum with. I guess I just don't make enough money to count in their eyes...mark my word, they will keep going after the little guy until we stand up to them...

June 2, 2011 at 6:12 p.m.
LillyMay said...

Libertarian...hate to break it to you, but teachers are monitored consistently throughout the year at my school. (Bad teachers equals bad principal equals bad central office...it trickles down from the top.) What is insane is expecting teachers to work for nothing...we are college educated...don't think that is a requirement for waitressing or being a flight attendant...and many of us go on to get masters degrees. Highly educated people should be paid decent wages...there should be an incentive. Public defenders get paid more than I do, and are they more noble than I? I think not. .

June 2, 2011 at 6:23 p.m.
iagree said...

enufisenuf, I'm sure that in your eyes I would be one of those "dummie" teachers, but the fact is that I teach in a low socio-economic school. Let me explain that to you. I have many students who come to school hungry and tired because they couldn't sleep. The reason they couldn't sleep is because their mother made them get up and care for the baby brother in the night. Most of the issues that are dealt with in our school are more due to the situations at home than what they are suppose to be learning. So if you think any of my students get ignored because they aren't "easy" think again. There are no "easy" students in my class and I realize that and choose to stay there because some days I will be the only positive influence in that child's life. So I don't really need a lecture on compassion from the likes of you. I should hope that one day you will have such a humbling experience as to teach a room full of students that you first have to make feel safe before you can attempt to teach the long list of standards that the state requires.

I also feel rather sure that if you work at all that you will want some control over your working conditions and salary. You will like to have your voice heard, especially if you have no control over the issues that arise in your classrooms due to irresponsible parenting.

June 2, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.
clandahlina said...

enufisenuf, you really shouldn't talk about things you clearly know nothing about. You keep mentioning tenure. Tenure has not been taken away. It has been changed, but it has not been taken away. Regardless, that's not what this article is referencing. It is discussing collective bargaining. Go ahead. Google it. I'll wait for you to come back. whistles Got it? Good. Okay, now that you may have a bit of an understanding about what has happened, let me just explain that collective bargaining isn't a bad thing. Employees are usually encouraged to speak up regarding their working conditions and how to improve them. Teachers contracts and salaries are also negotiated. That does not mean that "bad" teachers get to be inefficient. Teachers are already rated based on how their students perform on standardized tests. That is weeding out the poor teachers. Collective bargaining assures that teachers receive the same benefits that many of us receive. I'm not sure why anyone would want teachers to go without health insurance or other benefits. Collective bargaining is certainly not getting them fat cat salaries such as Haslam's either. So now we have stripped teachers of any perceived benefit to work in the state of TN. how do you think this will impact students? Do you think teachers will teach freely, as you mentioned they did when you were younger? Of course not. This legislation has done the opposite. It has pushed teachers further away from innovative instruction and more toward a cookie cutter classroom. Furthermore, do you think Tennessee schools will be able to attract the best and brightest college students to teach in our state once they graduate? Of course not! In the past teachers gave up hopes for a high salary in exchange for benefits and the dream of teaching children. Now we have stripped them of any incentive and forced them into bland lessons. Why would anyone come to teach here when they can get a job in a better state? Oh, that's right. Maybe they can't get a job anywhere else so they will have to settle for teaching in Tennessee. Those are the new teachers that we will have teaching our children. Does Haslam care? No. His children went to private schools so he doesn't even have any experience with the public school system. That's like you trying to do rocket science. It's not going to turn out well. So, yes, maybe you should learn the facts and educate yourself before you start speaking on things that you don't understand. You might also want to invest in spell check or a dictionary since it is "dummy" not "dummie."

June 2, 2011 at 7:36 p.m.
clandahlina said...

Also, as was otherwise noted, if you think teachers have an easy job, then you clearly have not been in the schools in a long time. Students do not academically perform for a number of reasons, many mentioned by a previous poster. Abuse, neglect, and other elements of their home life are a huge factor. Drugs, weapons, and violence are also a concern. Many of their parents do not emphasize the importance of education so it is an uphill battle for teachers. It's not like when we were younger and everyone came in fresh-faced and ready to learn. It is a different world, and if you don't understand that, then you are very much out of touch with reality.

June 2, 2011 at 7:48 p.m.
bpqd said...

When these politicians mention teachers, we think of children, education and the classroom. The Republican politicians think of their requirement to "bust unions" to gain political clout, which will probably assure them more money in the future. That, and who gets support from whom on what; like, not getting primaried by Tom DeLay, back when.

As we use this article to argue with each other about what we want, let's be sure to take some time to remember that what unites these two laws is our Governor's desire to get money.

It's not about us at all. It's not about raising kids or conducting business with ethics. It's about the politicians and their chance to get money.

What's more, it's foolish of them to show their desperation to get money by so openly trying to get some, like this.

Not only are they desperate to get money, but also they're doing a bad job of politics in trying to get it.

If our politicians had been effective executives, we'd all be arguing about what a great job they were doing for us as they rewarded themselves. Instead, anyone who sees this story can clearly see that they are making a beeline for the money.

Is this how we want our interests represented in government?

By people who are not only broke and desperate, but unable to play the system to get what they need? A direct grab for money like this relies on direct power; when that power runs out, what will these people do? What will they do to get money, and what will they do to represent our interests as they go about their daily business of rewarding themselves and their friends?

Governor Haslam has demonstrated that he is a poor investment for his political allies by failing to effectively manipulate his constituents. Instead of thinking we're getting what we want, we can all see that he's getting what he wants.

Ineffective legislation that's sure to undermine not only the Republican party's efforts in Tennessee, but the state as a whole.

Another instance of not only greed, but political incompetence, in action.

June 2, 2011 at 9:29 p.m.
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