- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Over 50 years ago I interviewed with the school board for my first teaching position in a small town.
I was immediately told they did not allow any teachers their school to belong to a union.
Each teacher was to negotiate his or her own salary and that salary was to be kept in strict confidence.
I was able to bargain them up to $1,800 a year!
Later, I learned I was making more than the teacher who had been with them for 30 years, but who “didn't squabble over salary.”
I was never asked any questions about my education, my grades, my philosophy of teaching, or any other information relating to teaching. I was asked who my parents were.
Meaning, I supposed, that if they didn't like my parents, then they wouldn't hire me.
While that may seem like a far-fetched situation, there are still communities where these kinds of decisions would be made by similar school boards, if the laws still allowed it.
If the education bills currently filed in the legislature pass, we will be returning to that kind of thinking-especially the bills relating to professional negotiations, teacher tenure, and preventing teachers and retired teachers from selecting representatives to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.
As for tenure, it is not a lifetime guarantee of a job. There is a system in place to dismiss any teacher-tenured or not-for various infractions of the teaching profession.
Tenure was designed as a safeguard to teachers against being fired for things like voting the wrong way, or even giving a failing grade to a school board member's son or daughter.
Teachers today are a highly educated, highly motivated group of people who want the best for our children. One does not go into teaching for the money.
Otherwise, our country would not be facing the teacher shortage that it is. Whoever said “Those that can, do. Those who can't, teach,” didn't have the guts to try teaching!
These bills were not about improving education.
These bills were about “putting teachers in their place,” which will mean disheartened, discouraged teachers.
It is already illegal for teachers to strike.