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

Lookout Valley Has A Right To Want A Different Commission Make Up

I haven't followed the rift on the County Commission as close as I'd like to. I'm still playing catch up with so many articles out there. Most recently, I've read where Lookout Valley citizens are asking for a revote for chairman. Before that, it was about the grandstanding at the last meeting. Somewhere in between Roy Exum chimed in making, what I consider, a sexist remark about ... (click for more)

Greg Martin Is Clear Choice For District 3 County Commission

As chairman of the Hamilton Count Hamilton County Republican Party, I want to encourage everyone to get out and vote in the important election, especially if you live in the Hixson community where voters will pick a new District 3 county commissioner.  This particular race is unique given how state law dictated the process for electing the next commissioner. The guidelines ... (click for more)

Domestic Assault Charge Dismissed Against Bobby Stone In Case Involving Mayor's Top Advisor; Stone Says Berke Had Inappropriate Relationship With His Wife; Says Berke And Fletcher Conspired To Arrest Him; Lacie Stone Says Charges Completely False

A charge of domestic assault was dismissed Friday morning against Bobby Stone in a case involving a top advisor to Mayor Andy Berke.  Afterward, Mr. Stone told reporters that the mayor had an inappropriate relationship with his wife, Lacie Stone. He also charged that Mayor Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher conspired to arrest him. Mr. Stone is expected to file ... (click for more)

Christopher Padgett Taken Into Custody

A Chattanooga man who went on the lam after cutting off his ankle monitor and failing to show up for the third day of his felony murder trial is back in custody. Christopher Padgett was arrested by Chattanooga Police in the 3200 block of South Street at 12:55 a.m.  He was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Hamilton County Jail for booking. ... (click for more)

Briarcrest Beats Baylor For D-II Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO – The 2016 volleyball season didn’t end like the Baylor girls would have liked, but they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of after getting beat by Briarcrest in the D-II Class AA state final here at MTSU’s Murphy Center Friday afternoon. The Lady Saints had beaten Baylor in a winners bracket final on Thursday and proved it was no fluke as they won in three straight ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Advances To Class AA State Final

MURFREESBORO – Never accuse the Signal Mountain volleyball team of ever doing anything the easy way. The Lady Eagles, who entered the TSSAA state tournament here as a possible favorite to win the Class AA division, started off the tournament on the wrong foot Wednesday as they lost to defending champ Sullivan South in their first match. They staved off elimination with a 3-0 ... (click for more)