Governor's Tenure Reform Bill Passes House 3-24-2011 - WSMV Channel 4

Governor's Tenure Reform Bill Passes House 3-24-2011


Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to make it tougher for Tennessee teachers to get -- and keep -- tenure has passed the House.

Video: Lawmakers Get Heated In Teacher Tenure Debate


The measure was approved 64-32 Thursday. The companion bill in the Senate passed 21-12 earlier this month.
Lawmakers must now agree on minor changes to the legislation before it goes to the governor's desk.
The proposal would require a teacher to be on the job five years instead of three to secure tenure and would create a way for job security to be revoked for poor teaching performance.
"Tenure is going to actually mean something, and a teacher will have something to strive for," said Bill Dun, R-Knoxville.
Opponents say the evaluation system for tenure isn't in effect yet and that it has not been determined how best to rate educators whose subjects aren't covered by the state's value-added test scoring program.
The biggest concern has been tenure would be based on an evaluation system that hasn't been implemented statewide yet, and some lawmakers believe all of the changes are going to dissuade people from becoming teachers.
"If you are around five years from now, I can assure you are going to be extremely sorry for having done this," said Rep. JoAnn Favors, D-Chattanooga.
The passage of Haslam's teacher tenure bill was almost overshadowed by a confrontation that had many fearing would become a physical fight.
"One day there will be a reckoning," said Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory.
"We relegate ourselves to bullying tactics," said Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville.
A dozen lawmakers left the chambers fearing words would turn into something more physical, but everyone cooled off before that happened.
"It was just a misunderstanding," said Turner. "Things got heated in the heat of the debate."
"He apologized, I accepted the apology and everything is fine," Hawk said.
"I think those tensions are flying pretty high right now, and that's understandable," said Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.
Reporter Cara Kumari contributed to this story.

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