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Gov. Haslam stands behind teacher licensure change, but acknowledges teacher angst and possible reversal by lawmakers

September 4th, 2013 12:31 am by Rick Wagner

Gov. Haslam stands behind teacher licensure change, but acknowledges teacher angst and possible reversal by lawmakers

KINGSPORT  — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Tuesday said he understands why teachers are upset about a state school board teacher licensure change, one that would remove teacher licenses based, in part, on student test scores.

Because of licensure concerns, the governor said it is good the state Board of Education’s recent 6-3 vote included a provision to delay implementation of the change until 2015, although state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, have indicated they would sponsor legislation in the 2014 session to overturn the school board action. Also, last week some area teachers said they opposed the move.

“Part of our challenge right now in getting education right in Tennessee is making certain that we don’t going forward have 70 percent of students when they go to community college needing remedial work,” Haslam said during a Tuesday afternoon editorial board meeting at the Kingsport Times-News.

The new policy, opposed by the Tennessee Education Association, bases the granting and renewal of professional teaching licenses on in-class assessments and a value-added score derived from students’ standardized test results. The plan the state board approved says if teachers score a 1 out of 5 in two of the past three years they will be placed in a review status for an additional year and could lose their license if they score a 1 during the year of review status. Thus,.a teacher would have to score a 1 in three out of four years before they would be subject to losing their license. In addition there is an appeal provision that can be used to handle unusual situations, according to state board Chairman Fielding Rolston of Kingsport.

Haslam said reviewing and possibly reversing the decision was lawmakers' prerogative.

See Thursday's print edition for an expanded version of this story.

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