Clay Bennett
Chattanooga Times Free Press
April 3, 2012

Clay Bennett

Chattanooga Times Free Press

April 3, 2012

Gov. Haslam teacher tenure bill clears Senate committee

cildawg1 said…

When Bill Haslam’s first order of business as governor was to take away the collective bargaining rights of teachers, I thought to myself, “What have teachers done in Tennessee to get stripped of their bargaining rights?” I wondered if Tennessee teachers had gone on strike or had massive “call in sick” days. I searched Google for “Tennessee Teachers on Strike” and could find nothing. In fact, I found that it was illegal for Tennessee teachers to go on strike. So apparently Tennessee teachers have not used their collective bargaining rights to go on strike.

Perhaps the problem is the retirement system that teachers enjoy. I went to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System and pretended that I was a 35-year teacher who had averaged $50,000/year for the last five years. (I don’t know if many teachers earn that much, but I used that number as a guide.) To my surprise, a teacher who earned $50,000/year and retires with 35 years of experience merely gets a pension of $2,296/month or an annual pension of $27,552. That’s the maximum, assuming that the teacher doesn’t want his/her spouse to have anything in the event of the teacher’s death. You can check this out yourself by going to the TCRS calculation website. It seems that the collective bargaining isn’t helping the teachers all that much with their retirement. So why is Bill Haslam picking on teachers?

It is untrue that a tenured teacher cannot be fired. Tenure only guarantees due process for teachers facing termination. Tennessee isn’t like New York City, where ineffective teachers are in a holding area earning their full salary while playing cards and waiting years for hearings. This doesn’t happen in Tennessee. However, it is true that for a Tennessee teacher to lose his/her job there has to be evidence of ineffectiveness and evidence that assistance was provided to the teacher to no avail.

Nationwide, teachers are consistently leaving the teaching profession. “Every year, U.S. schools hire more than 200,000 new teachers for that first day of class. By the time summer rolls around, at least 22,000 have quit. Even those who make it beyond the trying first year aren’t likely to stay long: about 30 percent of new teachers flee the profession after just three years, and more than 45 percent leave after five.”[Source – NEA] So the notion that it’s hard to get rid of teachers is just not true. On the contrary, it’s hard to keep teachers.

Changing the tenure law is just the beginning of things to come. Changing the tenure law won’t save money. The salaries and retirement plans that teachers earned will be next. I hope I’m wrong.

May 9, 2011 at 5:38 p.m.

PLEASE sign this petition for Gov. Bill Haslam to veto Tennessee's "Monkey Bill"

racetothestoneage:

Because, you know, Tennessee’s educational history isn’t already embarrassing enough.

(Source: stoneagechronicles)

friendlyatheist:

manicchill:

Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Win.
YAY CHATT!

friendlyatheist:

manicchill:

Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Win.

YAY CHATT!

(via thedragoninmygarage)

Last Friday we experienced, as did so many across the country, a terrifying series of tornadoes that came remarkably close to our middle school. Though thankfully no fatalities resulted in Chattanooga, the area of town that experienced the most damage was that of my school’s zone and had thus been subsequently on my mind all weekend long. This morning I learned that one of my students (and mind you, I only teach about 5% of the school’s population) had lost her home during the very moment I was ushering her into the hallway last Friday to take cover. Stunned, I realized that I had just waved to her in the hallway ten minutes prior; I could not imagine the amount of strength it took for her to wake up and come to school today.
And when she and I sat down after class to talk about it, I was fairly unsurprised to see her force a smile through her story. This little 7th grade girl has always been one to embrace a positive attitude through adversity. Even though she always hangs with the boys, she consistently reveals a very sweet, insightful side beneath her tough-girl exterior. In explaining to me what it was like to get off the school bus and walk toward a house no longer recognizable as her own, she eloquently explained that she remembered one of her favorite quotes from a novel we studied last semester.
The quote that she referenced (verbatim, at that) from Warriors Don’t Cry: “Please, god, let me learn how to stop being a warrior. Sometimes, I just need to be a girl.”
It’s moments like these when I realize that some of my students are stronger and more profound than most adults I am acquainted with.
Photo Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press 

Last Friday we experienced, as did so many across the country, a terrifying series of tornadoes that came remarkably close to our middle school. Though thankfully no fatalities resulted in Chattanooga, the area of town that experienced the most damage was that of my school’s zone and had thus been subsequently on my mind all weekend long. This morning I learned that one of my students (and mind you, I only teach about 5% of the school’s population) had lost her home during the very moment I was ushering her into the hallway last Friday to take cover. Stunned, I realized that I had just waved to her in the hallway ten minutes prior; I could not imagine the amount of strength it took for her to wake up and come to school today.

And when she and I sat down after class to talk about it, I was fairly unsurprised to see her force a smile through her story. This little 7th grade girl has always been one to embrace a positive attitude through adversity. Even though she always hangs with the boys, she consistently reveals a very sweet, insightful side beneath her tough-girl exterior. In explaining to me what it was like to get off the school bus and walk toward a house no longer recognizable as her own, she eloquently explained that she remembered one of her favorite quotes from a novel we studied last semester.

The quote that she referenced (verbatim, at that) from Warriors Don’t Cry: “Please, god, let me learn how to stop being a warrior. Sometimes, I just need to be a girl.”

It’s moments like these when I realize that some of my students are stronger and more profound than most adults I am acquainted with.

Photo Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press 

Dorothy Bond, Tennessee High School Principal, Made Homophobic Remarks During Meeting With Students

"More startling news from Tennessee…"

Teaching Moment

No better start to the weekend than hanging with 6th graders in the hallway for an hour during a tornado.

Tennessee Bill: Penalize teachers, lobbyists for defaulting on student loans

Teachers and lobbyists who default on student loans could lose the right to practice their professions…

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said the bill sends the wrong message to teachers already facing ample problems. It means, he said, “You would be able to take a teacher out of a classroom because he or she, because of tough times, has become delinquent on a student loan.”

WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS STATE? No wonder why zero of my students want to be teachers when they grow up.

'Don't Say Gay' Bill Flies Out of House Subcommittee

Sen. Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill made it out of a House subcommittee today, banning discussion of all but “natural human reproduction science” before the ninth grade in public schools.

Before the House education subcommittee acted, chairman Joey Hensley scored bonus points by admonishing all Tennessee parents not to let their children watch “Modern Family” on television because they might discover there are homosexuals in the world.

Why do I teach in Tennessee again?

TENNESSEE RESTAURANT THROWS OUT ANTI-GAY LAWMAKER

stfuconservatives:

karmabum submitted

A restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee refused to serve state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R), the man who sponsored the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, compared homosexuality to bestiality, and most recently told Michelangelo Signorile that it’s virtually impossible to spread HIV/AIDS through heterosexual sex. “I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” the Bistro at the Bijou wrote on its Facebook wall on Sunday. The restaurant has received an overwhelmingly positive response.

(Source: stfuconservatives)