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


Why Gun Crimes Continue In Chattanooga - And Response

Despite all of the moaning about guns, relatively little is done to those who commit gun crimes.  For example, there is a report that a man (Davonte Ammons) fired two bullets into a residence where his son and two other people were, and the judge set his bail at $140,000.  If gun crimes are so heinous, why not set the bail at something substantive, like $500,000?  ... (click for more)

Strays For Carter

For those of you who have visited the Carter home you noticed the dog beds begin at the side door and continue throughout the house ending at the foot of the bed.   Yes, we are dog lovers; we don’t look for dogs, they seem to find us.  Those of you who know my husband might consider him a bit of a bulldog himself, once he has a passion for something he will not let ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

Volkswagen To Spend Up To $14.7 Billion To Settle Allegations Of Cheating Emissions Tests And Deceiving Customers On 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 ... (click for more)

Tim Couch Resigns As Silverdale Softball Coach

Tim Couch, who led the Silverdale Baptist Academy softball team to a runner-up finish in the 2016 TSSAA Class 1A state tournament, has resigned as the Lady Seahawks’ coach. Couch just completed his fifth season as the Silverdale coach – the Lady Seahawks went 42-5 -- and it was by far his most successful campaign. “This wasn’t an easy decision, but I’ve been thinking about ... (click for more)

Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Generals To 3-1 Win Over Lookouts

The Jackson Generals used a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts, 3-1.   The Lookouts won the first series of the second half, three games to two.. Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart was the story early for Chattanooga, shutting out Jackson for six innings. The righty got into trouble in the seventh by allowing a walk and a double. After ... (click for more)