Sunday, March 6, 2011
These toxic bills are aimed at destroying our teacher union through forbidding payroll deductions, removing collective bargaining, not allowing association literature to be distributed in teacher mailboxes or email accounts, making it against the law for us to contribute to a political candidate's campaign, removing a teacher from the retirement board, and ending tenure. These six bills are just the beginning. Fourteen more are in the works.
In other words, teachers would have no say in their working conditions, salary, or benefits. These bills and the obvious disrespect for teachers will no doubt discourage young people from entering the teaching profession where they work ten hours or more each day for less pay than what they could receive in the private sector and now decreased benefits.
In terms of the political donations, TEA donates to the candidates who support education no matter the political party; however, most of our strong education supporters have been Democrats and the offended politicians are Republicans. We'd donate to their campaigns too if they'd only support us.
I have questions on the legality of this proposed bill. If businesses are allowed to make donations, how can one outlaw professional organizations from doing the same. Maybe it should be against the law for everyone organizations and businesses included to make donations. That would hit these legislators in the pocket book!
I believe there is a strong misconception of what tenure means. It does not mean that a bad teacher cannot be fired. It means that one cannot be fired without due process or telling the teacher why they are being fired. Is this such a bad thing? Governor Haslam wants to increase tenure from three years to five, and some have suggested a period of ten years. How long does it take a young person in the business world to be considered competent in their job? Six months?
The biggest sock in the jaw is the rudeness of the bills. Last year, TEA worked tirelessly to help Tennessee gain funds through Obama's Race to the Top. Without teachers working with legislators, we never would have gotten this huge sum of money to help education. Furthermore, this money means that all teachers will receive four evaluations a year and have to work harder to meet new standards yet none of the money will be used for teacher salaries or benefits. So, we will be working solely for the children. Look at the thanks we are getting.