Two of TEA’s legislative priorities made important progress this session to improve working conditions for support professionals and school nurses.
While the proposals did not pass in 2022, the bills are poised to advance further next year and become law.
“As we’ve seen with our bills in the past, it can sometimes take more than one try to pass a piece of legislation,” said TEA President Beth Brown.
Several years ago, TEA introduced legislation to require testing transparency in the state’s end-of-year assessment, only to see the bill become a piece of then Governor Haslam’s legislative package the following year.
TEA legislation that would require districts to pay nurses on the same licensed pay scale as teachers cleared education committees in both houses this year, and had advanced to the floor of the senate, but was unable to advance out of the house finance committees. However, with the passage of the governor’s school funding bill, TISA, districts will receive more than four times the amount of money for school nurses. This will ensure schools are able to attract and retain nurses critical to ensuring students are safe.
Another bill would have supported education support professionals by extending the same tuition discount for their children to attend college as teachers currently have. This legislation advanced out of the house education committees with strong support. There was also a bill that would provide school employees the same 80% health insurance support that state employees receive. The new state funding that will accompany TISA will also make this possible.
“TEA will continue to aggressively push to ensure educators receive the support they deserve, for we know that educators’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions,” said Brown. “We look forward to building on the progress made this year as we continue to provide our students with a world-class education.”
Pictured above: Tennessee school nurses were instrumental in pushing improved support in state legislature during this year's TEA lobby days on the hill known as TEA Civication.