State Dems – GOP fight over bills
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 12:02 am
Nashville – Senate Democrats voiced their concern Wednesday over a Republican bill to ban teachers from voting members onto the state pension board, in the first of many efforts to target Tennessee educators for political payback.
“Bills like these don’t help a single child, they don’t raise a single test score and they don’t help move education forward in Tennessee,” said State Senator Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere).
Senate Bill 102 would take away the ability of teachers’ and retired teachers’ organizations to select their representatives on the state pension board. Under the bill, the Republican speakers of the Senate and House would receive expanded authority, despite their commitments to smaller government, according to the Senate Democratic Caucus.
The bill passed 20-13 along party lines in the Senate during Wednesday’s session. Monday’s floor vote is likely to be the first of many to ban teachers from basic rights such as organizing, making political donations and collectively negotiating classroom sizes, school schedules and pay rates.
Many have questioned why Republicans would go after the same teachers who are currently implementing major education reforms under Tennessee’s First to the Top Act.
The House version of the bill is in a subcommittee.