published Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Tennessee: Governor calls for special session on education

NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen today said he is calling for a special session to address K-12 issues including tying teacher tenure to student performance and also to address changes in higher education funding.

State officials face a Jan. 19, 2010, deadline for submission of paperwork to try to draw down federal dollars in the Race to the Top program. That program is part of the federal stimulus funds expected to reward states that have made major changes in K-12 education.

Lawmakers’ regular session is expected to start Jan. 12.

House Finance Committee Chairman Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said issue the special session will deal with include a requirement that states use student performance in the evaluation of teachers.

Rep. Fitzhugh also said the special session would deal with making substantial changes to the state’s higher education system, changes that have been the subject of ongoing discussions among the governor and key lawmakers.

Those changes include changing the current higher education funding formula from a needs-based formula fueled primarily by enrollment to include performance measures, primarily the record of institutions to graduate more students.

Another provision that would be discussed in the special session, Rep. Fitzhugh said, is a more prominent role for community colleges.

Rep. Fitzhugh said he thinks there would be support for the special session, which would allow lawmakers to zero in on the education issues.

There was no immediate comment from the governor’s office.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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EaTn said...

Tying teacher tenure to student performance is a step in the right direction, but eliminating tenure in lieu of continuous year to year performance is more in line with what most taxpayers are subject to.

December 15, 2009 at 4:17 p.m.
timoshenko said...

What about tying student motivation to their performance? Can we blame the teachers for everything? Should we? Is it possible that the year-to-year performance of a teacher is tied to the quality of students they get each year? We need accountability on a broad scale: the taxpayers to see that enough support is provided, the parents, the students themselves, and YES, the teachers, too.

December 17, 2009 at 3:04 p.m.
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