Press Release from the Senate Democratic Caucus, March 2, 2011:
Democrats Call for an End to Continuous Attacks On Teachers, Students and Working Families
Stewart: ‘A teacher’s work environment is a child’s learning environment’
(Nashville) – Tennessee Democrats united Wednesday to call for an end to the continuous attacks in the state legislature on teachers and children.
“We are asking today that the majority party and the administration listen to the people of Tennessee,” said Rep. Mike McDonald (D-Portland). “It is clear from listening to our constituents that they oppose these attacks on our teachers. Teachers deserve the right to have a say in improving their classrooms and the lives of their students.”
The Senate Education Committee passed Wednesday Senate Bill 1528, which affects teacher tenure. House Subcommittees were scheduled to take up bills regarding teachers’ ability to participate in organizations, and a controversial bill that would post teacher data online.
Another bill that would prohibit teachers from negotiating class size, school safety and fair pay is awaiting a full Senate vote. The legislation is a far cry from last year, when teachers worked with members of both parties to help pass Tennessee’s “First to the Top” legislation that secured $501 million in federal funding to improve Tennessee schools.
“A teacher’s work environment is a child’s learning environment, and these bills hurt both,” said State Sen. Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere). “Teaching is not just a job. It’s a calling. But with every bill that demoralizes teachers, the more likely it is that the next generation of great teachers won’t answer the call.”