Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


State plan, legislation miss opportunities to reduce testing, improve public education

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in late 2015. The new federal education law replaces No Child Left Behind and gives states flexibility around issues like testing and accountability. Tennessee has already submitted its required ESSA plan to the US Department of Education for review. Just last week, the legislature passed HB 308, the legislative counterpart to the ESSA plan. While there are some positive elements, the plan also includes some key missed opportunities. 

Local Control

Billions of taxpayer dollars funneled nationally to fund vouchers

Privatization advocates have had their sights set on Tennessee for years, but TEA has worked hard to hold them off for four straight legislative sessions, keeping public taxpayer money where it belongs - in public schools’ budgets.

These groups have been working again this session to privatize our public schools through a number of different schemes, including the Memphis pilot program and expansion of the special education vouchers. Both bills are still moving in the legislature. 

"Thank God for Memphis!"

The primary sponsors of vouchers for Memphis hail from Knoxville and Germantown. 

By Jim Gifford, Rutherford EA member

No matter what, some Tennessee legislators know a good deal when they see it.  

If a proposed new bill or untested program concerning public education is considered too risky or is unpopular with the constituents in their own districts, they can always try it out in the perpetual doormat called “Memphis”.   

License expiring?

Stay on top of requirements, earn PDPs with TEA trainings

When it is time to renew your teaching license, don’t get caught unprepared at the last minute.

A teacher’s license is up for renewal every three to six years depending on the type of license, but the expiration date is always August 31 of the designated year (Visit www.teateachers.org/License for a full explanation).

TEA proving strength of PECCA through legal challenges

Approximately 60 percent of all Tennessee teachers are in districts engaging in PECCA, the state’s collaborative conferencing law. TEA locals have won the vast majority of conferencing seats in PECCA elections, a sure sign teachers know which organization best represents them. As more local associations organize votes and win, the strength of the 2011 Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act is being put to the test.


TEA-backed bills that focus on students and educators - not high-stakes tests - moving in Legislature

PE bill fixes problems with 2016 law, returns control to districts

Every elementary school teacher knows that physical activity is a good thing for students. 

A new proposal this session could restructure physical activity requirements for Tennessee students after legislation passed in 2016 created more problems than it solved.


Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) has found a new approach to attacking TEA and local associations.

Her proposed legislation would allow a 10 percent withholding tax on associations. 

“While we know that deduction of association dues constitutes no expense to the school districts, it’s obvious that this bill is a teacher tax and a direct attack on our association,” said TEA President Barbara Gray. “Last year, we defeated similar attacks by out-of-state special interests three times, and now they are back with new tricks.”


Some changes in testing are looming on the horizon, one brought to you by the State Department of Education, and another—a less certain one—proposed in the General Assembly.

The department announced last week it will cut the time spent on science and social studies tests in the third and fourth grades by 50 percent, while focusing more on reading assessments.