Each week during the legislative session the Tennessee Education Association provides an overview of legislation they support and oppose. Don't wait to read these. They haven't archived these in the past.
Choice: Last week's included solid objection to charter and virtual schools along with vouchers and help for private pre-K programs. Obviously they are eager to protect their educational monopoly regardless of whether these options are good for children.
Money for Classrooms--Not: Requiring 65% of the BEP money actually get to the classroom is objectionable to this union because it could impact 'support services'. I hope that teachers on the front line, in those classrooms, (many of whom are union members) go back to this union leadership and remind them that the classroom is where the bulk of this money belongs.
Feeding Children: Further TEA objects to reducing the sales tax on food. These very same union leaders will likely also demand expansion of school breakfast and lunch programs recognizing that some families cannot afford to feed their children and good nutrition is essential to the learning process. But we cannot allow those families that extra 1/2 cent to help them do the job themselves. Please, folks, we're currently running a budget surplus of over $115 million. Money isn't the problem. It's where the money goes that's the biggest problem. Let's leave more at home--the first and best 'support service'.
Lottery Bank of Tennessee:
And they want to carve out their own little lottery niche:
Legislation has been introduced which will provide financial assistance to individuals preparing to be teachers in the areas of mathematics or science. SB 223/HB 450 would require that the Tennessee Student Association Corporation (TSAC) administer a loan-scholarship program for students training to become mathematics or science teachers.Do we really want the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (that's student assistance) enabling these fledgling adults to get into debt? Why is a lottery scholarship not sufficient? Oh, yeah, that's right, it's akin to pay for performance.
Gov. Bredesen has already suggested in his State of the State address that lottery funds be used for loans to local school districts. I'll remind you that the excess funds are artificially created by not fully funding scholarships for students.
This session, I will ask the General Assembly to pass legislation to enable us to set up a state-wide bond pool which will give individual school districts access to capital at the lowest possible cost—the lowest possible transaction cost and the lowest possible interest cost. This will particularly help smaller rural districts.And the referenced legislation allows TSAC to use funds from sources other than the lottery losings to provide these loans. Do we really want the TSAC to become a banking entity? I don't.
In order to give that pool the credit it needs to borrow as inexpensively as possible, I will ask you to transfer $100 million from the lottery reserves—about a quarter of the total—to this bond pool for use in enhancing credit; getting the best possible bond rating and interest rate.
Debt is a dangerous and unforgiving master. The State of Tennessee should not become one of its partners.
Equal Pay for Equal Work?: And don't even talk about tying pay to performance.
It's a sad list.