In Senate’s Tenure Bill, ‘Attacks on Teachers Continue’: Dems

Press Release from the Senate Democratic Caucus, March 10, 2011:

Republicans vote to change tenure requirements

NASHVILLE – Senate Democrats asked again Thursday why Republicans continue to focus on political payback against teachers instead of jobs creation and real education reform.

“We have spent yet another job-killing day telling our teachers that they’re the problem,” Democratic Leader Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) said. “I’m waiting for Republicans to start blaming teachers for our rising unemployment.”

Senate Bill 1528 would extend the probationary period for tenure from three to five years and would require teachers to meet evaluation levels that have not been fully implemented. Republicans voted in lockstep in support of the bill, which passed 21-12.

Republicans defeated an amendment by Sen. Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere) to delay the provisions of the bill until the necessary evaluation procedures had been fully enacted.

“We announced a plant expansion in my district yesterday, but we’re not up here talking about jobs creation,” Stewart said. “Instead, the majority party is focused on punishing teachers, printing their own money and ignoring Tennesseans.”

The House version of the bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Education Committee next week.