Haslam Makes Commitment To Increase Teacher Pay; Democrats Cautious On Plan

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam on Thursday joined Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to announce the administration’s goal of "becoming the fastest improving state in the nation when it comes to teacher salaries."

The governor said, “We’re asking our students to be the fastest improving in the nation in education achievement, and the data is showing that we’re making real progress. Teachers are the single most important factor in student achievement, and higher accountability for teachers and proven results should be met with better rewards.” 

During the Haslam administration’s first years in office, the state has seen three consecutive years of growth in TCAP results, including the largest TCAP gains in Tennessee history last year, his office said. 

TCAP results also show Tennessee has 91,000 more students on grade-level math and more than 50,000 more on grade-level in science. 

“This is a long-term goal, and I think it is one of the most important ones we’ve taken on,” Governor Haslam added. “We are committed to investing in our educators and working in partnership with the General Assembly and our local school districts to examine where we are every year, track our progress against other states and make investment decisions that will move Tennessee forward.”

His office said, "Haslam and the General Assembly have committed more than $130 million during the past three years in new, recurring funds for teacher salaries, translating into the average Tennessee teacher earning $50,000 per year.

 "The governor and legislature have also worked together to increase overall education funding by more than $400 million.

 "In that time, the average teacher pay in Tennessee has improved at twice the national average, according to state and National Education Association statistics."  

House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh responded, "House Democrats share Governor Haslam’s stated desire to increase teacher pay in Tennessee. Teachers in this state are overworked, underpaid and deserve to be treated as professionals.
"However, after listening to teachers across the state, we are increasingly convinced that Commissioner Huffman’s unproven, unreliable testing methods as a basis for teacher pay are hurting our public education system.
"As always with this administration, the devil will be in the details. Our teachers and students are already overburdened with standardized testing. Basing teacher pay on test scores, especially the scores of students they never teach, is going to further strain the system, lower morale and detract from the progress we have made in Tennessee.
"Democrats stand ready and willing to support the Governor’s efforts to increase pay for teachers in Tennessee. We just hope that in doing so, the Governor and Commissioner Huffman will bring teachers, school superintendents, and parents to the table to ensure that we do so in the most proven, effective way possible."

20,676 Cast Ballots In First 4 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first four days of early voting in Hamilton County, 20,676 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,900 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030, 816 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)