TREND Fall 2018 - Page 8

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT I hope your Labor Day Weekend was fantastic. I was reminded of the true value of freedom, the unique heritage of our nation and the effort so many people who came before us put forth so that we could enjoy the fruits of our labors. Not only does Labor Day mean that Fall is on its way, it also means Christmas countdown is beginning in some circles. However, first, we will have mid-term and statewide elections in November. Politically, we live in extraordinary times. It is important that our members keep in mind, we encourage you to register to vote, engage in the political process individually and work for people who espouse your beliefs. Keep in mind, as an organization we do not endorse political candidates, or parties. We never contribute our members’ dues to political candidates or parties, unlike other groups. In the Governor’s Race for example, if you want to participate in the Karl Dean or the Bill Lee campaign, we are glad to forward them your name. Email advocacy@proedtn.org and we will forward your information to the appropriate campaign. We talk with both campaigns regularly. However, we will not get involved in their campaigns. You can sign up yourself, if you would prefer and are interested in that race. So often we hear empty words and promises by advertisers and politicians. Words like “fighting for you” or “it’s for the kids.” My favorite slogans were “war on poverty” or “war on drugs.” These so-called wars only served to escalate the issues. President Reagan’s “war on drugs” from the 1980’s has become an “opioid crisis” in 2018. No matter how “authentic” people are, they are not informing you on an issue, they are selling you something. It is merely an ad. Just pay attention to the jargon. For example, in recent days one group has become famous for advocating for “filing a grievance.” It sounds impressive. In reality it is a lot of talk for little action. No grievance is necessary or needed as the option to vacate already exists and is automatically triggered by the teacher as he/she desires based on how we set guidance in the law passed in the spring. The remedy of any grievance would be vacating, but this is already an option. So, in summary, no grievance makes sense here and creates the same end as what is already automatically available. Each local has their own local policies and processes, but here is the language from the SBE teacher evaluation policy regarding when grievances are appropriate at the local level: Local-Level Grievance Procedure (1) T.C.A. § 49-1-302, provides for “a local-level evaluation grievance procedure to provide a means for evaluated teachers and school administrators to challenge only the accuracy of the data used in the evaluation and the adherence to the evaluation policies adopted by the State Board of Education.” (2) The local-level grievance procedure shall provide for a review of the data used for the calculation of an evaluation score to ensure it is properly attributed to the teacher or administrator. The final results of an evaluation may only be challenged if the person being evaluated can demonstrate, no later than during step II of the grievance procedure that the procedural