Last week Governor Bill Haslam released a video welcoming teachers back to the classroom. This week, House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh makes his own video welcoming Tennessee’s teachers. I think teachers will really appreciate Fitzhugh’s message. Watch below.
Hi, I’m House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh.
Last week, Governor Haslam sent a message to teachers welcoming them back to another year of school. I too would like to extend a welcome back and a thank you for your service to our children and our state.
In his message, Governor Haslam said he “could imagine how challenging it is to teach in an environment with a variety of factors beyond your control.”
Quite frankly, I could not agree more.
That is why I have been so deeply disappointed in this Governor and his Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman. I’m disappointed in their continued refusal to fix an evaluation system that is driving quality teachers out of the profession. I’m disappointed in their push to cut teacher salaries, while asking them to contribute more to a less secure retirement plan. I’m disappointed in their work with the State Board of Education to revamp the process for licensing teachers—all without consulting the elected leaders in the General Assembly.
Like my wife, my sister-in-law, my niece & my daughter, I know most of you became teachers to make a difference in the lives of the children you encounter. Unfortunately, outside so-called “reform” groups have used their mounds of out-of-state cash to lobby the General Assembly and make your job more difficult. These groups are more concerned with standardized testing & fundraising for their PACs than they are about the future of our children.
As teachers, you are responsible for molding Tennessee’s most precious resources. Unlike Commissioner Huffman who taught for two years and moved on to the lucrative world of education reform, many of you have foregone more lucrative careers because of your passion and dedication to our students. That is why teachers must always be at the center of our education reform efforts—because you are on the front lines. You know what works, and you know what doesn’t.
Thank you again for another year invested in our education system. Times are tough, believe me I understand that. But always know that you have a friend in our caucus on whom you can call anytime. Thank you.