Not Interested

School districts taking a pass on arming teachers

In the realm of “solutions no one asked for,” the Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Lee are learning a lesson.

While legislative leaders and the Governor refuse to actually address gun violence in schools, the policymakers have created a new law on the subject.

This one would place more guns in schools.

Unsurprisingly, this has not been eagerly received by school districts.

Even some of the rural districts the law was created to help also announced it’s not in their best interest to allow teachers to carry guns.

I bet the school systems would much prefer funding for teacher compensation and resources for students.

But policymakers aren’t into that.

calculator and notepad placed over stack of usa dollars
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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Robertson County Won’t Arm Teachers

District joins growing list of those rejecting legislature’s gun push

Robertson County Schools joins a growing list of districts in the state who refuse to arm teachers, despite the General Assembly and Gov. Lee pushing the idea.

Smokey Barn News reports:

 I simply do not believe it is in any of our best interests in Robertson County to arm educators at this time. Our administrators, teachers, and staff have many responsibilities as we daily seek to provide the best education we can to our students. Our administration has extremely high expectations for all staff in providing that education. As Director of Schools, I do not see blurring the line between education and law enforcement.”

-Statement of Danny Weeks, Robertson Co. Director of Schools

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Sumner Says “No” to Arming Teachers

School districts speak out on law that would allow teachers to carry concealed firearms

Almost as soon as the General Assembly passed legislation that would allow teachers to carry guns at school if they meet certain requirements, a number of school districts began saying they would not be participating.

Sumner County’s Director of Schools released a statement and video explaining why his district will not be arming teachers.

“Our teachers and principals carry tremendous responsibilities in teaching and supporting our students in the classroom. Our teachers and principals already play a critical role in school safety by ensuring that our safety procedures are followed in our school buildings daily. We do not want to add one more task or responsibility to them.”

Other districts also indicated they will not be participating in arming teachers.

Photo from TN Holler noting opposition in Nashville, Memphis

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Seems Like a Bad Idea

Lawmakers approve measure that would allow teachers to carry guns at school

The Tennessee General Assembly has sent Gov. Bill Lee a bill that would allow teachers who complete certain training to carry concealed firearms on school campuses.

WSMV reports:

A bill that would allow teachers to carry a concealed gun on campus and school property has been passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.

It passed on the Senate floor on Tuesday with 26 votes for and five votes against and was held on the House desk until it took up a vote later in the day. HB1202 passed by a 68-28 vote, with 2 representatives deciding not to vote. The Senate version of the bill was passed by a 26-5 vote on April 9.

The move was met with swift, negative reaction:

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Lee’s Voucher Loss

Governor fails to win approval of signature policy initiative

Gov. Bill Lee released a statement today admitting his signature legislative initiative, school vouchers, has failed for this session of the General Assembly.

I am extremely disappointed for the families who will have to wait yet another year for the freedom to choose the right education for their child, especially when there is broad agreement that now is the time to bring universal school choice to Tennessee.

Lee has long been an advocate of using public funds to support private schools.

Of course, the state already has a limited school voucher scheme operating in Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga.

Despite the likelihood of failure, policymakers rejected the idea of using funds earmarked for vouchers to fund other K-12 initiatives.

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More Dump Trucks?

TNReady not ready this morning . . . again

Reports this morning suggest that Tennessee testing vendor Pearson experienced technical difficulties and TNReady testing didn’t start or couldn’t happen in some school districts.

Image from Tweets by David Carroll and TNHoller

And another one:

TNReady only experiences problems every single year.

Remember when we were told a dump truck had knocked out a fiber line and that ended testing?

And then remember when it turned out it WASN’T a dump truck, but problems with the testing vendor?

Pretty funny – unless you were the kids taking the tests or the teachers tasked with administering them or the teachers, principals, and schools who are graded and evaluated by the flawed (and often not working) tests.

Oh, and remember how the General Assembly passed a ridiculous third grade retention law based on a test that should better be described as TN-NEVEREADY?

Oh – also just last year, testing vendor Pearson secured an additional $40 million in state funds for its failed experiment:

Just last year, there were challenges with administering the test:

So, imagine being a third grader at the end of your school year. You find out you have to retake an 85 minute test you’ve already taken. If you don’t do well enough, you have to go to summer school and possibly repeat third grade.

No pressure at all, right?

Then you show up for your retake and you’re ready to go and you have to wait for an hour or two while some tech issues are worked out.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve waited and are now likely extra anxious. This is it.

This test counts. For a lot – especially in the life of a 9-year-old.

This is the type of cruel and unusual punishment that passes for education policy in Tennessee.

And the worst part is, taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars to fund this insanity.

Sumner Resolved

Sumner School Board passes resolution opposing school vouchers

The Sumner County School Board is asking its legislative delegation to oppose efforts to privatize Tennessee’s public schools by way of a voucher scheme.

The Tennessean reports:

The Sumner County Board of Education met in a special-called session last week to vote on a resolution against Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Freedom Scholarship Act.

Sumner County Board of Education officials approved the resolution in a 9-1 vote. Sumner County Board of Education Chairman Tim Brewer abstained from the vote.

It’s unclear whether some version of an expanded voucher plan will move forward this legislative session.

Earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee rejected an attempt to use funds allocated for vouchers ($144 million) to instead fund an increase in teacher pay. That funding would amount to a roughly 5% raise for all teachers.

Gov. Bill Lee promoting school privatization

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Vouchers vs. Teachers

Lawmakers reject additional investment in teacher pay

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee rejected a move that would have invested the $140 million+ allocated for Gov. Lee’s voucher scheme into an increase in teacher pay.

Sen. London Lamar proposed the budget amendment – suggesting moving money from a voucher plan that is unlikely to gain approval this session into additional investment in public schools.

“This amendment would take the K-12 education funding set aside for Gov. Lee’s school voucher program and reassign it to the K-12 student funding formula,” said Sen. Lamar. “There are so many needs our public school system has that this voucher money could be used for — one of which being teacher raises.”

The proposal failed on a party-line vote, with all nine Republicans on Senate Finance opposing the move.

crop man getting dollars from wallet
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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Throwin’ It All Away

Pro-voucher lawmaker wants to “blow-up” state’s “terrible” school system

Rep. Scott Cepicky made it clear that the motive behind Gov. Bill Lee’s signature public policy initiative, school vouchers, is tearing down the state’s public school system.

Nashville’s NewsChannel5 has more on Cepicky’s revelation:

The lead sponsor pushing school vouchers in the Tennessee state House says his goal with Tennessee’s public education system is to “throw the whole freaking system in the trash,” according to a recording obtained by NewsChannel 5.

Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, whose children attend a private religious school in Columbia, said he believes that “blow[ing] it all back up” is the only way to “fix” the state’s public schools, which he describes as “terrible.”

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Mobley Opposes Arming Teachers

School Board candidate speaks out against state legislation

Williamson County School Board candidate Elmer Mobley says he opposes legislative efforts that would allow some teachers to carry firearms while at school.

“SB1325 and HB1202 overlook evidence-based solutions to school safety while promoting a culture of fear and militarization,” Mobley stated. “Teachers are not trained law enforcement officers. Expecting them to handle firearms in high-stress situations without adequate training increases the potential for accidents, misuse, and escalation of violence. Even with extensive training, accidents can happen. A loaded firearm in a classroom increases the risk of accidental discharge and the potential of injuring or killing students or staff.”

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