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Dem leader: Deal near on student test data

Dem leader: Deal near on student test data

Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 9:07 pm
By: AP

 By ERIK SCHELZIG Associated Press Writer NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House Dem-ocratic Caucus Chairman Leader Mike Turner said officials were close today to working out a deal on Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposal to give more weight to student test scores in teacher evaluations. Turner, of Nashville, an-nounced on the House floor that the two party caucuses were to meet later this morning to discuss the possible arrangement. Tempers flared briefly when Republican Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga rose to question who had struck a deal when most lawmakers weren’t involved in negotiations. “I thought that was a legitimate question,” McCormick said afterward. “He said a deal had been worked out, and I wanted to know who had worked it out.” Turner, who wasn’t given an opportunity to respond from the well, was held back by several fellow Democrats as he rushed down the chamber’s main aisle to confront McCormick. At issue is how much student testing data should be used to evaluate teachers and to make tenure decisions. The Democratic governor has argued that at least 51 percent of those decisions should be based on data, while the Tennessee Education Association’s position has been that it should be no more than 35 percent. Bredesen has argued that the more significant use of data will boost Tennessee’s chances of landing $485 million in federal “Race to the Top” money. No student testing data is currently used for teacher evaluations or tenure decisions. McCormick said Turner had calmed down by the time they spoke, and explained that the agreement to be discussed was struck between the teacher’s union and the governor. Turner later had a book of religious proverbs called “Ancient Wisdom” delivered to McCormick’s desk that he inscribed with “To my friend Gerald, I love you.” McCormick said he planned to return the gesture. The books had been distributed to each House member by Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin. “It was just a little joke,” Turner said. Published in The Messenger 1.13.10

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