TREND Spring 2017 - Page 14

Ed 2017 Legislative As the close of the 2017 Legislative Session of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly draws near, The Teachers’ Bill of Rights (SB14/HB174) has just passed on the full floors of the House and Senate. This will serve as an important foundational piece of legislation to protect the rights of teachers. Normally “responsibilities” are accompanied by “rights.” We have a code of ethics, but nothing identified specifically as teacher rights. Respecting the authority of teachers is essential to creating an environment conducive to learning, effective instruction in the classroom, and proper administration of our local public schools. “Our teachers are a critical part of the equation when it comes to educating future generations of Tennessee’s employees and business leaders,” said Representative Reedy. “When they feel valued and respected, our children and all of Tennessee reap the benefits.” A bill addressing issues with teachers’ licenses (HB111) that would have restored the Commissioner’s ability to grant waivers to teachers whose licenses are not renewed through no fault of their own was pulled until next year to address concerns that removing a subsection of the code that prevents the Commissioner of Education from granting any waivers under any circumstances would give too broad of discretion to the Commissioner. The Payroll Deduction Equity bill was met with surprisingly resounding “nay” in the House Finance Subcommittee. This simple bill would have provided equal access to teachers of any professional employees organization to have their dues deducted via payroll. Our members are routinely denied access to an equal form of dues deduction as members of other organizations, which is inherently discriminatory and unfair. Read the letter from ProEd Executive Director Dr. JC Bowman expressing disappointment regarding the treatment of the bill related to payroll deduction for teachers’ association dues. SB1136/HB309 was passed in order to extend the “hold-harmless” provisions (which we have advocated for since TNReady’s inception) of the Evaluation Flexibility Act passed last year as a result of the termination of the Measurement Inc. contract, and subsequent selection of Questar as the new TNReady assessment vendor.