Local News

Story published: 02-04-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Hill promotes bill for teachers

By Meghan McCoy
Staff Writer

State Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, paid a visit to David Crocket High School the morning of Feb. 3 to share information about a bill that will protect teachers from losing their license based on standardized test scores.

“This legislation will affect David Crockett in a positive way,” he said, adding that it will also have a positive effect on the rest of Washington County.

Hill said over the summer, Tennessee Board of Education members decided they were going to allow teacher licenses to be revoked based on standardized test scores. That decision, however, was reversed by the board during a meeting Jan. 31, he said. The second vote will take place in April, when the legislature is out of session.

“I appreciate the State Board of Education is finally listening; however, there is still overwhelming evidence and reason to go forth with this legislation,” Hill said. “Them reversing their decision (means) they are finally, I hope, paying attention and it redoubles my efforts to get this legislation passed.”

Hill filed the Educator Respect and Accountability Act of 2014 with 61 co-sponsors on Jan. 30. He hopes to have a total of 75 co-sponsors by the end of the week.

“I am happy to co-sponsor this piece of legislature,” said Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Johnson City, who stood with Hill at the announcement. “I believe it protects (teachers.)”

Hill said having this many co-sponsors at the beginning of a bill is pretty groundbreaking.

“(I have a) strong foundation of support from legislators from the House of Representatives,” he said.

The bill “prevents the State Board of Education from setting ay policy where teacher licenses are based on standardized test scores or any statistical estimate utilizing standardized test scores.”

The bill also allows any parent or interested member of the public to contact the State Department of Education directly to file teacher complaints. He said an electronic complaint form will be posted on its website. Once the complaint is filed, it goes to the director, who determines if there is probable cause before being sent to a local board for action.

“I call it the right thing to do,” Hill said. “Teachers should not be scared to go to work in the morning.”