A pair of bills seeking to address the disconnect between state money provided for raises and salary increases was discussed extensively in the legislature recently. There is a growing realization on the part of lawmakers that the raises they pass aren’t always getting into the paychecks of Tennessee educators.
TEA continues to urge Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature to “Beat Bama” in teacher pay. With some millions in recurring revenue yet to be allocated, TEA is working to ensure more funds are dedicated to teacher salaries in the final budget version.
The salary increase would be separate from the $30 million announced by the governor in a budget amendment recently, which would go to improving school safety. That amendment includes $25 million in one-time, nonrecurring funds and an additional $5.2 million dedicated to recurring school safety grants.
A bill that would have massively expanded the special education voucher program was defeated in a house subcommittee. If passed, the program would have expanded fourfold what TEA and special education professionals across the state see as an attempt to undermine the gains of inclusion and would have posed a risk to students.
“Stopping the bill at its first vote shows we’re winning the opinion battle in the voucher fights,” said TEA chief lobbyist Jim Wrye. “We can’t rest when it comes to privatization, but it is heartening to see we are beating it earlier and earlier.”
Shelby County Schools teacher and longtime TEA member Melissa Collins was among 50 educators chosen from around the world as finalists for the Global Teacher Prize, awarded in Dubai March 18.
Collins, a second-grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Whitehaven, was recognized by London-based Varkey Foundation, whose goal is to improve education standards for underprivileged children around the world. Collins was chosen from 30,000 applicants in 173 countries based on her effectiveness and inspiring students to learn.
TEA members are now able to earn state-approved professional development points (PDPs) from the comfort of their own home through the TEA Professional Development Portal.
“TEA takes pride in our high quality professional development, and now we can offer it to all members anytime, anywhere,” said TEA President Barbara Gray. “The new online learning portal is free and available exclusively to TEA members.”
TEA is and always has been about the business of ensuring every student has a qualified, committed and professional educator in every classroom.
The teacher code of ethics was something developed by TEA as guiding principles of our profession. This wasn’t mandated. This was something TEA members wanted to put in place to strengthen the profession they love.
How would you feel if your teaching license was suspended for a year, and your career destroyed, because you arrived 30 minutes late to one of your high school classes? Is that worth a career? It’s a recent example of licensure action taken by the State Board of Education (SBE), and this teacher’s career was saved because the educator was a TEA member.
TEA lawyers pushed back, and the year-long suspension was dropped.
TEA’s legal team helped a tenured Cheatham County teacher with almost 30 years of experience win back three years of compensation and retirement eligibility after she was dismissed from her position at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
After the school shooting tragedies in Florida and Kentucky, school security is a dominant topic in the General Assembly. There is universal agreement the state needs to do more for SRO funding, but with inaction from the administration in past years on helping pay for school security, there are now bills that differ greatly on how to address safety gaps.
TEA is against a bill before the legislature to allow arming designated teachers across Tennessee. We've stopped similar proposals in Tennessee before. Laws in other states where teachers can carry guns in schools if they choose are dangerous to students and faculty alike.