100% for Charters, 2.5% for Teachers

Tonight, Governor Bill Lee outlined his proposed budget for 2019-2020. Lee’s budget doubles the fund for charter school facilities to $12 million. This amounts to a benefit of $342 per student (there are roughly 35,000 Tennessee students in charter schools).

Meanwhile, he announced a meager improvement to teacher salaries of around 2% – $71 million. This amounts to $71 per student.

So, charter schools — which serve only 3.5% of the state’s students — will see a 100% increase in available facility funding from the state while teachers will see only a 2% increase in pay.

If the two investments were equal and funded at the rate granted to charter schools, there would be a $342 million investment in teacher salaries. That’s roughly a 10% raise. A raise that’s desperately needed as Tennessee leads the nation in percentage of teachers with little to no classroom experience. We also have one of the largest teacher wage gaps in the Southeast.

As one Nashville teacher pointed out, Nashville – and the entire state — have a failed business plan:

I’m starting a business and looking for workers. The work is intense, so the workers should be highly skilled. Experience preferred. Starting salary is 40k with the opportunity to get all the way to 65k after 25 years of staying in the same position. See how dumb that sounds?

Now, those are numbers for Nashville. Some teachers around the state have to teach for 10 years before they even hit $40,000. Still, the point is clear: The value proposition for teachers in our state is not very good. Unfortunately, Governor Lee’s first budget is not doing much to change that. It’s the status quo. A nominal increase that will likely not entirely make it into teacher paychecks.

Tennessee’s numbers when it comes to both investment in schools and educational attainment are disappointing. Continuing along the same path means we’ll keep getting the same results.

The bottom line: Money matters.

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8 thoughts on “100% for Charters, 2.5% for Teachers

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  6. Lee has no individual thought on education floating around in that empty head. But his Commissioner of Education and his Policy Director both know exactly what they want to see happen. Charters replace traditional public schools, elimination of elected school boards and increase in the use of vouchers. All of this is THE combination for making education a full fledged business (which is what Schwinn learned all about at Broad Superintendent Academy and TFA). And the Policy Director was the Director of DeVos’s created American Federation for Children’s TN branch office. It is all about privatization, making their buddies and eventually themselves a ton of money, getting ALL children into the same system and the data pipeline and shutting down the voice of those pesky parents and the few school board members that still have a spine. Make no mistake Lee’s Policy Director and his Commissioner of Education have a clear direction and orders from above and they are leading Lee around like the puppet he is. Sorry folks but time to face the music. The Choice parents want is not the Choice parents will get in the end. You will be deceived to think your child’s Charter is better than the traditional public school (because they know for the most part parents will not engage enough to know they have been deceived) but how can that be when they are required to teach the same standards and take the same assessments as the traditional public school which means the curriculum must jive up too. Your choice in the end will be choice of location only. Vouchers is how they suck the private and religious schools into the mix. There is nothing these reformers propose that will benefit our kids or improve education.

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