Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Morning Roundup: Lawmakers Start Race to the Top

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 7:25 AM

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The governor's special-session legislation finally is unveiled. In higher education, he wants to elevate the role of two-year community colleges and reward institutions that retain and graduate students. In K-12, he would require the use of student testing data in granting tenure to teachers and in annual evaluations. One new wrinkle: School boards no longer would decide whether to remove tenured teachers from their jobs. Instead, impartial third-party officers would hold hearings. "That takes the politics out of it," TEA president Earl Wiman says. Lawmakers complain about secrecy surrounding some elements of Bredesen's plans, including how much student test scores will count in deciding tenure, pay, promotions and other job actions. The administration is trying to keep parts under wraps for fear of losing a competitive advantage over other states bidding for the federal Race to the Top cash before the Jan. 19 application deadline. Rep. Harry Tindell:
"It kind of puts us in a precarious situation of wondering what we're actually building and buying here. I think it's only fair that we get a little bit of a vision of where we're headed with this without giving away state secrets."
See Andy Sher ... Chas Sisk ... Tom Humphrey ... Erik Schelzig ... Rick Locker. Metro Council member Mike Jameson questions the Music City Center feasibility study, and the public weighs in. ... Who's behind Corkerforpresident.com? ... Corker critical of Treasury moves on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. ... Start of special sessions kicks off fundraising ban. ... Rate cuts planned for TennCare specialists. ... TDOT says stimulus saved jobs in Tennessee. Bill Frist calls the special session a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." ... Gail Kerr hopes lawmakers keep their fingernails clean and otherwise behave themselves. ... The Chattanooga Times Free Press on the fight over teacher tenure:
Teachers have reasonable fears of being ramrodded in the session to make an extravagant concession before the final votes of the special session on Thursday and Friday. They also want to avoid being made targets for a burden and a cause that often are chiefly due to family and social issues, as opposed to a problem of ineffective teaching skills or unsatisfactory teacher effort.

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