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State teachers hopeful, but cautious

State teachers hopeful, but cautious
The state’s largest union representing teachers is looking forward to a possible special legislative session regarding federal education funding, but is also concerned about what could come with it.
The Tennessee Education Association (TEA) supports the governor’s call for a special session, which would focus on qualifying the state for the Race to the Top program, but also worries the emphasis on standardized student performance testing might increase.
Earl Wiman, TEA president, says his membership is concerned too much already is riding on student performance, based on a multiple-choice test.
“I think we, as much as anyone else, want the state to be well-positioned when it comes to Race to the Top. We do differ a little bit in the assessment of what we need to do.”
Tennessee teachers’ experience with Pres. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program has made them wary of federal programs big on tests and small on an overall evaluation of teacher’s performance, he adds. “We just want to make sure that, as we redesign this evaluation system and look at student performance, it does what it ought to do, which is to improve student learning.”
The union is pleased Gov. Bredesen has taken steps to ensure teacher’s voices will be heard in the complicated, but important process, says Wiman.
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