State Board Of Education Is Being Manipulated

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Tennessee State Board of Education's decision to reduce teacher pay by reducing experience steps from 20 to four and by not giving pay increases for those who rise above the master's degree level is the result of manipulation. Enter Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, formerly associated with Teach for America, a "non-profit" group, whose founders include a former IRS Commissioner. Suddenly pressure is being brought on those who entered the profession expecting pay steps for experience.  

Now, in spite of the state board offering to let local boards choose their own pay plan, pressure will be brought by political leaders to do no more than the minimum the state offers. The result will be the exit of more experienced professionals who see little future in staying until retirement. Then the Teach for America cadre of young teachers will just happen to be there to fill those vacancies making substantially less pay and expected to do greater things than those who left. Coincidence, I think not.

I know there will be the usual responses of teachers get paid too much and only work nine months a year (it is 10 and with summer school it can be more). Try cutting your salary by two months pay and divide it out over 12. Then there will be comparisons to Wisconsin and New Jersey. I can assure you from my own knowledge, teachers here are not compensated in any way like those states. And you are not taxed to the level of citizens of those states.

What this move demonstrates is a slick manipulation of people who want schools run like businesses. Schools can never be exactly like a business as they have no quality control over raw materials and the market doesn't dictate the price. They can be more business like and one way is to show respect for the people charged with shaping the minds of those who will one day be charged with taking care of our nation and us. 

Ralph Miller
Chattanooga



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