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


Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Jacky Cagle For East Ridge Council

I have know Jacky Cagle for over 20 years. Jacky retired from the city of East Ridge after 34 years service.  Jacky was the supervisor of the Vehicle Maintenance Department.  This gives him an edge when it comes to understanding city budgets and policy. Jacky’s dedication of service and work experiences will make him an effective and proactive member of council. He ... (click for more)

Attorneys For Life Care Centers Of America Seek Direct Appeal On Key Issue In Federal Lawsuit

Attorneys for Life Care Centers of America are seeking a direct appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on a key issue in the case in which the federal government is seeking millions of dollars in reimbursements, plus treble damages, against the Cleveland, Tn.,-based firm. The attorneys want to appeal a decision by Federal Judge Sandy Mattice that would allow the testimony ... (click for more)

Couple Die In Wreck In Marion County After Vehicle Goes Off Highway In A Curve

Two people died in a wreck in Marion County late Saturday night. The victims were identified as Glenda White, 33, of Palmer, Tn., and Jeremy Braden, 28, of Gruetli Laager, Tn. Both were ejected from their vehicle. They ran off the left side of Highway 108 at a curve while going north. The vehicle went through a fence into a field, before striking a tree and then coming ... (click for more)

UTC Soccer Falls To Furman In Regular Season Road Finale

GREENVILLE, S.C. --- UTC fell 9-0 to Furman Sunday afternoon at Stone Soccer Field in Southern Conference women’s soccer action. Chattanooga falls to 1-14-1 overall and 0-7 in league play, while the Paladins improve to 10-3-2 on the year and 4-1-2 against the SoCon. The Mocs held off the Paladins, not allowing any early goals and allowed just two in the second half. Freshman ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)