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Board of Education’s rushed decision was irresponsible

August 23rd, 2013 1:00 pm by State Sen. Rusty Crowe

Board of Education’s rushed decision was irresponsible

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was last week when the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to link the standardized test that students take each year to the potential termination of a teacher’s license.
This would appear to be the first time any state has taken such an approach. Thank goodness for members like Janet Ayers, who were not comfortable moving forward knowing this was not only such a precedent-setting, but also a potentially career-altering decision for all of our teachers.  
This would tie a teacher’s license to practice his or her profession based upon a standardized test that is developed by a private contractor and administered only once a year. It is like taking a snapshot of a student’s capability — one day out of the entire year — and hoping that the many negative variables and intangibles our teachers can’t control surrounding a student’s life won’t come into play and possibly end that teacher’s career.
I have always felt that the annual standardized testing process should be used as one tool in the evaluation toolbox, not as the one definitive controlling factor that could end a teacher’s career.
Why would the board move forward so quickly knowing that this issue had not been fully debated and that its members did not feel comfortable? This is not the kind of policy decision that should be discussed and voted on through a conference call.
As a long-time member of the Tennessee Senate Education Committee, I would expect that there should be an extensive discussion and debate of an issue of this importance through not only the state Board of Education, but through our state’s legislative bodies, who are responsible directly to the people.
Since the board voted to approve this new rule, but delayed implementation until 2015, I would expect that we could see some form of legislative intervention in the next session of the General Assembly.
It is hard for me to believe that our Tennessee Board of Education could act so irresponsibly.

State Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, represents the 3rd District.

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