Bill would strip the ability of Tennessee teachers to effectively negotiate contracts
(Nashville) – The Tennessee House of Representatives passed an anti-teacher bill Wednesday that continues an effort to strip teachers of their ability to effectively negotiate for better classrooms for students and better working conditions for their profession.
“This bill is a dishonest effort to reach an agreement with the Senate that will destroy all rights of more than 52,000 Tennessee teachers to negotiate for better classrooms, wages and learning environments for Tennessee students,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “This is an attack on Tennessee teachers; nothing less.”
The anti-teacher bill, which is expected to pass the full Republican-controlled legislature in another form, will decrease the rights of teachers to effectively negotiate a contract covering their salary, benefits, working conditions, school safety, class size, planning time, time to teach, length of the school day, scheduling and other priorities.
“This is a political game; the Republican majority is calling it a ‘reform,’” Turner said. “They simply don’t want public education to exist in this state at all. This is a vote to take away our teachers’ ability to better their careers, their family life and most importantly the learning environment of Tennessee students.”
The bill will now head back to the Senate and subsequently a conference committee with the House. The conference committee is expected to fully strip the rights of teachers to better their careers and the learning environment for Tennessee students.
Opponents of the bill argued that the brightest college students will simply choose professions other than teaching, or move out of Tennessee.
“We’re asking all citizens, especially our teachers, their families and their friends to call the state legislature and ask their House and Senate members to vote against the final form of this bill.”
Members of the General Assembly may be reached at (615) 741-1100.
Final Vote on the Bill: 59-39
Ayes: David Alexander, Harry Brooks, Kevin Brooks, Sheila Butt, Joe Carr, Glen Casada, Jim Cobb, Jim Coley, Vince Dean, Vance Dennis, Bill Dunn, Linda Elam, Jimmy Eldridge, Joshua Evans, Jeremy Faison, Richard Floyd, John Forgety, Jim Gotto, Curtis Halford, Steve Hall, David Hawk, Ryan Haynes, Joey Hensley, Matthew Hill, Andy Holt, Julia Hurley, Curtis Johnson, Phillip Johnson, Kelly Keisling, Ron Lollar, Jon Lundberg, Debra Maggart, Pat Marsh, Judd Matheny, Jimmy Matlock, Gerald McCormick, Steve McDaniel, Steve McManus, Don Miller, Richard Montgomery, Frank Nicely, Mark Pody, Dennis Powers, John Ragan, Barrett Rich, Bill Sanderson, Charles Sargent, Cameron Sexton, Tony Shipley, Mike Sparks, Art Swann, Curry Todd, Eric Watson, Terri Lynn Weaver, Mark White, Ryan Williams, Tim Wirgau, Rick Womick.
Noes: Joe Armstrong, Eddie Bass, Tommie Brown, Scotty Campbell, Karen Camper, Barbara Cooper, Charles Curtiss, John DeBerry, Lois DeBerry, JoAnne Favors, Craig Fitzhugh, Dale Ford, Brenda Gilmore, G.A. Hardaway, Bill Harmon, Mike Harrison, Sherry Jones, Mike Kernell, Mike McDonald, Larry Miller, Gary Moore, Jimmy Naifeh, Gary Odom, Antonio Parkinson, Joe Pitts, Mary Pruitt, Bob Ramsey, Jeanne Richardson, Dennis Roach, Johnny Shaw, David Shepard, Janis Sontany, Mike Stewart, Charles Tidwell, Joe Towns, Jr., Johnnie Turner, Mike Turner, Kent Williams, John Mark Windle.