The issue is how much weight to give value-added test scores in deciding teacher tenure. The governor says most of the decision should be based on the scores. The TEA thinks that's way too much. Bredesen offered to let the state school board decide. The TEA objected because that would be tantamount to letting the governor decide. The Bredesen-appointed board is a rubber-stamp.
Now, Bredesen says he'll agree to let the legislature create an independent advisory committee to determine how to evaluate teachers. It's the obvious solution to an impasse that could have jeopardized hundreds of millions of dollars in the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition.
The governor gets what he wants--the state's Race to the Top application is stronger because test scores will be used, at least to some extent, in the evaluations. The TEA, on the other hand, saves face with its membership. The union was in an impossible position, threatened with the blame for the loss of federal cash. Under the circumstances, the TEA couldn't take a hard line against the use of test scores. Some concerns remain, including who sits on the advisory panel, but this looks like a deal in the making.