published Friday, March 18th, 2011

Ron Ramsey writes ‘open letter to conservatives’

NASHVILLE — In an “open letter to conservatives,” Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is calling for help in his fight to end collective bargaining for teachers.

Ramsey, R-Blountville, does not want to employ a compromise backed by GOP House leaders and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

“Stand with me in this cause to make sure we as Republicans are who we say we are,” Ramsey said in the letter, posted Thursday on his Facebook page. “Let your voice be heard in Nashville today.”

The Senate is poised to pass legislation stripping local teacher unions of their ability to bargain with local school boards. But the House Education Subcommittee on Wednesday amended the bill to allows negotiations on base salaries, fringe benefits and some other items to continue.

Ramsey said he is “convinced that ending the practice of factory-style, iron-clad, union contracts in education is essential to meaningful reform of our schools. The union lobbyists who benefit from union contract laws are the same lobbyists who strangle every attempt to pay our best teachers more — and reward them for their great performance.”

Haslam had been neutral on the original bill, saying he preferred his own efforts to make teacher tenure hard to get and keep as well as opening up charter schools to more students.

But after the House Education Committee acted this week, he swung his support behind that version, which has the support of House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville. He said it gives superintendents “greater flexibility in making personnel decisions and supports my central focus of doing what's best for children in Tennessee classrooms.”

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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BOOBOO99 said...

Tennessee Gov. is becoming Socialist..They wanna control the working people and set their pay..and take rights away from the working american people like China does...If Tenn Gov. had their way they would bring back slave wages to teachers...etc...

March 18, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.
rockman12 said...

In order for a government to be remotely functional it needs to meet in the middle. It is sad when there is a bill that is being ignored when it is a compromise between both Republicans and Democrats. This is how government needs to work if it is to ever accomplish anything that will last longer than a couple years before being changed. Ron Ramsey just needs to realize that nothing is black and white in life and things work best and more effectively in the gray area in the middle. Instead of just trying to bust unions how about trying to bring jobs to Tennessee with its 9.6 unemployment rate. That is where the priority needs to be not in party ideals.

March 18, 2011 at 4:51 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

I wonder why Ron Ramsey is so convinced that teacher's unions are a hindrance to educational reform? Ask any teacher - including most of those that are not part of the union - and they will tell you that clueless politicians who know nothing about what goes on in schools who set policy after ridiculous policy without any real knowledge of how schools work are the biggest problem. You know, the ones who are clueless as to what school administrators, teachers, parents, and students need. The problem are those who believe they have all the answers, even though they haven't spend any real time in a classroom since they were students - many of them in private schools.

March 18, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.
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