Rep. Watson: Education Reform

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - by Rep. Eric Watson
Rep. Eric Watson
Rep. Eric Watson

Tennessee has taken major steps in education reform over the past few years.  We owe it to our children to provide an outstanding public education.  At the same time, we must recognize that the biggest impact on the quality of education comes from our teachers.    The time has come to slow down the constant reforms in education and closely examine recent changes.  Failure to recognize the value of our teachers may result in a shortage of new teachers. Young people will soon begin to choose other professions rather than face the unreasonable expectations of education reform. 

Teachers are under more pressure than ever to perform in the classroom. Recently the State Board of Education made a decision to tie the renewal of teachers' professional licenses to test scores.  Test scores are one factor used in determining the effectiveness of a teacher. Results from just one student can have a negative effect on test scores.  Public schools are in the business of educating all children with vastly different abilities. Teachers are called upon to educate children from ideal homes as well as those from unfortunate circumstances.

While some “education experts” claim a child’s home environment does not impact learning, experience tells a different story.  Our teachers have the training to facilitate different teaching methods that adapt to the learning needs of all children. They do this every day, and should not also be forced to meet some arbitrary standard established by the education bureaucracy.  It is unfair to make test results the only evaluation of a teacher. 

Most importantly, teachers need to be respected for the impact they have on the lives of children.  That impact simply cannot be measured on a standardized test. While I respect the opinion of the state school board, I will join with other state legislators and closely examine the policy adopted by the board.

We must also revisit the increased demand of paper work placed upon teachers and school administrators.  Recent reform legislation currently pushes to collect data at every turn.  This is valuable time lost in the business of educating our children and will begin to have a negative impact on education outcomes.  Now is the time to let teachers know that we place great value on the role they play in the lives of our children.. We must examine recent reforms closely and listen to the input of those that are working in our schools. Let us work to improve and refine recent educational initiatives. 

Rep. Eric Watson


Bikers Need To Have Licenses And Insurance

I am okay with Haslam’s idea of raising the gas tax and lowering the food tax.  But, I want to see a tax of bicycles since they have their own lanes now and they also have to be maintained. How much revenue would that bring in?  I would think if we have enough bike riders to have the lanes in the first place, there must be enough to generate some money for road improvements. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Want To Protest? Get Paid!

In a troubling time when “false news” is the rage and people ask me – to my face – if anybody from Russia ever approached me personally searching for votes for President-elect Donald Trump, there appears a website that, to cop a phrase, “is too good to be true.” There is a group out of California that allegedly wants to hire “operatives” to protest Friday’s inauguration. Forget ... (click for more)

First Chattanooga Parking Study Since 2004 Gets Underway

The first comprehensive study of parking in downtown Chattanooga since 2004 is getting underway. The project  Is being led by the River City Company and CARTA in partnership with the city of Chattanooga. It is funded by the Lyndhurst and Benwood Foundations along with several downtown stakeholders including Erlanger Health System, UTC and Siskin Hospital. The study ... (click for more)

Cleveland To Get Bus Service To Chattanooga Under Federal Grant

Cleveland, Tn., will be getting bus service to Chattanooga under a federal grant. The city was notified recently that the Tennessee Department of Transportation selected its proposal for funding under the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. Tanisha J. Hall, state long range planning division director, said, "The Cleveland-Chattanooga Commute ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Adding Women's Volleyball, Cross Country, Restarting Golf

Cleveland State Community College announced Thursday that it will be adding women's volleyball, cross country and golf. Women's volleyball and cross country are brand new programs for Cleveland State, while the golf program will be restarting. These programs will begin in the 2017-18 school year. "This is part of our 'Cleveland State Community First Plan,' which is a strategic ... (click for more)

No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)