House Democrats React to ‘Attack on Teachers’

Press Release from House Democratic Caucus, May 11, 2011:

Republican-Controlled Legislature Continues Attack on Tennessee Teachers

Bill continues to strip the current ability of Tennessee teachers to effectively negotiate contracts

(Nashville) – A House panel passed an anti-teacher bill Wednesday that continues an effort to strip teachers of their ability to effectively negotiate for better classrooms for students and better working conditions for their profession.

“This bill is only a start in what we believe will be an agreement with the state Senate to destroy all rights to negotiate from more than 52,000 Tennessee teachers,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “This is an attack on Tennessee teachers; make no mistake.”

The anti-teacher bill, which is expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate in another form, will decrease the rights of teachers to effectively negotiate a contract covering their salary, benefits, working conditions, school safety, class size, planning time, time to teach, length of the school day, scheduling and other priorities.

“This is a political game; the Republican majority is calling it a ‘reform,’” Turner said. “They simply don’t want public education to exist in this state at all.

“We’re asking all citizens, especially our teachers, their families and their friends to call the state legislature and ask their House and Senate members to vote against this bill.”

The bill will now head for a full House vote and is expected to be re-shaped into the Senate version, which will strip the rights of teachers to better their careers and the learning environment for Tennessee students.