Divided We Fall: What The Teachers' Union Fails To Learn - And Response

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Tennessee teachers’ union replaced Jerry Winters with Jim Wrye as manager of their government relations. In the process they bypassed a highly intelligent African-American woman with considerable experience in the Tennessee General Assembly. Not one media outlet reported this fact, despite the readily accessible information. 

In Nashville, one of the worst-kept secrets is that Wrye is a former Alabama Democratic Party leader. Tommy Stevenson of the Tuscaloosa News called Wrye an “all-around cheerleader for the state Democratic Party.”

Wrye was also a staff member for Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Why would the teachers’ union in Tennessee bring in a partisan from Alabama with no obvious connection to the state? 

Wrye also worked for the Alabama union. In a press report it is claimed that Wrye was a leader in the “successful fight to stop charter schools in the state.” Obviously Mr. Wyre is unaware the charter schools battle has already been fought in Tennessee. We are educating children in our state in charter schools supported by many legislators and the governor.

“I’ve told legislators that for TEA today, it is not about ‘R’ or ‘D.’ It is about who will stand up for our public schools,” said Wrye. The problem with Wrye’s comments is that they are focused on an approach that is “top down,” not “bottom up.” The teachers’ union dictates what the best interest of public education is and too many journalists decide what is best for public education based upon what the union tells them. 

Most of the supposed “war on teachers” promoted by the union was caused by two issues: 1.) Race to the Top, which ushered in many of the reforms teachers opposed; and, 2.) The attempt by legislators to remove “special privileges” granted almost exclusively to the teachers’ union.

In Tennessee, Wrye’s selection seems surprising for a union with rapidly declining membership and in a state with a supermajority of Republican legislators. It certainly bodes well for continued partisanship from the union. 

However, Democrats have more to fear from a biased partisan union. It is never good for any political party to be dominated by one interest group.

Despite political differences, both Republicans and Democrats love our state and our children. By working together in a non-partisan manner we can solve any educational challenges. It is time we stand together for integrity in the political and public school systems. Teachers deserve to belong to an education organization with integrity — one that helps educators not only to have more but to be more. 

J.C. Bowman 

* * *  

If there is an alleged “war on teachers,” who are their enemy?  Republican voters?  Take a look at your deeply red state.   Public school teachers are public servants.   If I felt I was at war with those I allegedly served; with those who’s tax dollars fed my children, I believe I’d reexamine my priorities.  

Tennessee public schools are collectively ranked 21 out of 50 and they ranked second to last in ACT scores in 2011.  Voters expect more for their children and one would think public educators would share their desire for academic excellence.    

The function of public education is to prepare kids for lives as productive adults.  It’s not to provide employment for substandard teachers or to indoctrinate children into Liberal ideology.   As a voter, I want my schools to prepare kids for success.   If that puts me at odds with a teacher, the teacher needs to find a different line of work. 

Jeff Young
Chattanooga


Don't Be Quick To Discard Common Core

Let's not be too quick to discard Common Core. A recent article in the Tennessean on  Sunday detailed Common Core successes the Kingsport, Tennessee school system.  I encourage you to read it.  The article also noted that Tennessee was recently ranked as one of the fastest improving states in education after implementing portions of the Common Core curriculum ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Tubman Goat-Roping

Every spring there comes a bright day on the ranch when the straw-boss decrees a goat-roping should take place. What really happens is the veteran cowboys arm the greenhorns with some lariats late in the afternoon and take them to the pen that holds some Billy goats. This is before they get into bigger beasts -- horses and cattle – yet what appears to be easy most certainly is not. ... (click for more)

2 Chattanooga Bounty Hunters In Jail After Man They Sought Not Home And They Take His Wife

Two Chattanooga bounty hunters are in jail near Atlanta after police said they took a man's wife away in handcuffs after the man they were seeking was not home. Khalil Abdullah and Kevin Roberson were charged with kidnapping, false arrest and false imprisonment. In an incident in Gwinnett County, police said the pair broke into a home wielding guns and found the man they were ... (click for more)

Bradley County Police Investigating Shooting; Victim Dies

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of Georgetown Road. The sheriff's office said Sunday night that the victim had died. The victim's name has not yet been released.  A BCSO officer was waved down at the intersection of 25 th Street and Peerless Road by the driver of a vehicle who told the officer a gunshot victim ... (click for more)

Football Mocs Receive No. 8 Seed For FCS Playoffs

The hugs, high fives and first pumps by the Tennessee at Chattanooga football players late Sunday morning let everyone know in Moc Nation that the Blue and Gold had received a highy-coveted seed and would be hosting a second round NCAA FCS playoff game Dec 6 at Finley Stadium at 1 p.m. "When the television announcers called our name as the No.8 seed (out of eight ... (click for more)

Missouri Hangs On, Turns Back Tennessee, 29-21

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Missouri pin-pricked Joshua Dobbs’ bubble of invincibility Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The nationally ranked Tigers drove a stake in Tennessee’s heart with Maty Mauk’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt in the fourth quarter, held Dobbs in check most of the game and beat the Vols, 29-21, before 95,821 fans on a chilly night on the banks of the Tennessee ... (click for more)