What is a teacher? Tennessee lawmakers call for specific definition, cite ambiguity with pay raises

Learning designers, or teachers, plan for students to arrive later in the week at Howard Connect Academy Monday, August 5, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. School starts Wednesday for Howard Connect students. / Staff photo by Erin O. Smith

Throughout Hamilton County's contentious debate this year over public education funding and whether or not Hamilton County Schools or its teachers deserve more funding, one question has continuously been asked by elected officials, state lawmakers and taxpayers - who exactly is a teacher?

And who gets a raise when "teachers" are promised one?

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, and state Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, have long called for one official definition of what a "teacher" is that school districts and the state can stick to, and they have again been raising the issue with Hamilton County's school leaders and lawmakers.

photo Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Jeanette Omarkhail, the president of Hamilton County Education Association, speaks with her group during a roundtable discussion during a community meeting hosted by the Tennessee Department of Education Monday, October 28, 2019 at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.