E2010 Wired

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Tennessee sends teacher tenure bill to governor for signing into law

More GOP Teacher-bashing: Tennessee’s bill to make it more difficult for teachers to obtain tenure seems to be putting the cart before the horse basing the bill on an evaluation system that doesn’t exist, as well as correcting a tenure problem that doesn’t exist.

The bill was passed mostly along party lines in both chambers, with Sen. Douglas Henry of Nashville and Rep. John Deberry of Memphis being the only Democrats to vote in favor of the changes.

“I don’t think we have a tenure problem in this state, our laws are fairly weak compared to what other states have,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville. “It gave a certain measure of protection to the teacher that’s no longer there.”

The measure will require a teacher to be on the job five years instead of three to secure tenure, and create a way for tenure to be revoked based on consecutive poor evaluations.

Critics say an evaluation system to be used to make tenure decisions isn’t in effect yet and that it has not been determined how best to rate educators whose subjects aren’t covered by the state’s value-added test scoring program.

“The evaluation system, which is now such a high-stakes proposition, is still unfinished,” said Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters. “There’s some serious problems with it.”

Tenn. Senate’s OK sends teacher tenure bill to gov – BusinessWeek.

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