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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"This is not happening here"

The "This is not happening here" part of my blog is getting tired. I keep having to report on all the things that the school administration and teachers union swear is not happening anywhere in Tennessee.

But is.

This time it is abortion provider Planned parenthood being invited in to teach a class on sex ed at Harden valley in Knoxville and providing children links to websites featuring oral sex and bestiality. One parent found out and stood up.

From the article...


McCormick said a consent form was not sent to parents about whether students could view the presentation. McCormick said since October she tried on numerous occasions to reach school level and school system officials, including Superintendent Jim McIntyre, and they delayed in responding.

'I followed the avenues I was given as a parent,' McCormick said....


...The organization's presentation 'stays well within the parameters of what is suggested by the state Department of Education,' said Laura Boring, the school system's K-8 physical education and health supervisor.


Why was no consent form sent? because none is provided or required. Tennessee is a state where a parent can only "Opt out" instead of "Opt in" to a class. In other words you are in a class unless a parent magically finds out about something objectionable and then writes into the school saying they want to cover a topic on their own.

Until then, the child is property of the school.

I question why PP was invited into the class to start with. If the state is going to take the responsibility of teaching about sexuality to children away from the parents, isn't that what we pay teachers for?

I hear 'Focus on the Family' is doing a comprehensive re write of the sex ed curricula. I hope a change to "opt in" is part of it.

Fletcher Armstrong has more on the money side.

12 comments:

  1. I grew up in middle TN, and Planned Parenthood came to our class one day and talked to us about condoms. This was the 1994-95 school year under the "Wellness Program", which included six weeks of sex ed. We had lots of speakers, including a local doctor, abstinence only proponents, an AIDS patient who was a nurse, etc. I don't remember any literature being distributed, but this was before the internet was big. I knew that PP provided abortions and it made me uncomfortable for one their employees to be in the same room with me. I didn't tell my parents because it's embarrassing and what 14 yo actually blabs to their parents about what's going on at school? No one wants to be the kid who gets their parents on the warpath at school, you know?

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  2. How is this the fault of a union?

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  3. Cause the union is slacking off on the job and letting outsiders come in and teach on their member's turf? No union shop I know of lets contractors come in and do union work without a grievance - unless it isn't their work to begin with...

    Why does the NEA state in their resolutions that parents cannot possibly provide the education that children need (when they can't enter the classroom to teach anyway), but they let a contractor like Klan Parenthood come in and teach? Shouldn't they have a resolution against Klan Parenthood in the classroom (to go along with those meaningful ones against patronizing Gallo Wines and WalMart)?

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  4. I have a lot of differences with the NEA even though I am a member. I am a member because, along with a million other educators across the country, we want to change the NEA from the inside out. The 'union' has no control over who comes in classrooms, the school board does. Planned Parenthood, and I do not under any circumstance believe in what they do, can only come in schools if the school board allows them, the 'union' cannot file a grievance against that because it is not allowed under the states collective bargaining law. You are mistaken about what the TEA does and what they can do. TEA is teachers, not some group of union bosses sitting around smoking cigars in a dusky room somewhere. The leadership of TEA are teachers chosen by teachers to represent them, just as the TSBA elects their leadership from member school boards.

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  5. So you are saying the TEA is not the Tennessee affiliate of the NEA? That the TEA does not send representation to their annual meeting/Representative Assembly and that they do not cast votes on any of the NEA resolutions voted on at those meetings? That no TEA member union dues fund the NEA or leave the state to support their "affiliate" causes?

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  6. Not sure why you want to stoop to the gutter and can't have a civil discussion. "Klan" Parenthood? Come on, you're better than that.

    Never said TEA was not affiliated with NEA or that any local wasn't affiliated with TEA. That is your opinion. You put forth the erroneous notion the NEA is somehow making schools allow Planned Parenthood to come into classrooms and somehow that is justification for taking away the rights of teachers to be represented the same as school board members. As is evidenced in Knox County the school board is accountable for groups that come into the schools and teachers are supposed to get parental consent forms. How is that the fault of TEA or even NEA?

    I have been to 2 NEA Representative Assemblies and I can tell you I was uncomfortable because I am a lifelong republican. But we have a fast growing republican caucus now that is working to change some of the things you are talking about. You are mistaken about what dues are used for and the facts behind some of the union activities. Political activities are funded through voluntary contributions and the NEA does not participate in state political activities as far as funding candidates. What does prohibiting TEA from contributing to candidates of their choice have to do with education reform?

    What activity or "affiliate" cause are you referring to that state dues fund? (State dues do not leave the state and fund the NEA by the way.) NEA's dues are collected separately and are less than state dues. Part of NEA dues money is sent back to TEA for Uniserv activities. It is truly unfortunate that you and Senator Campfield want to take teachers rights away from them because you are upset over who supported who in a political campaign. What would you expect them to do with the way the republicans are acting right now? I cannot defend my party anymore from those who say the republican party wants to destroy public education because apparently that is what you want to do.

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  7. Hate to do it to you but here is the former governors own study on tenure problems.

    http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/repository/RE/Tenurebrief2008.pdf


    I could link to tons of stories (In fact in the past I have) on tenures protection of terrible teachers. Less then one tenth of 1% is ever fired.

    Teachers don’t get consent forms. Tennessee is opt out, not opt in.


    How does allowing for more charter schools take rights from teachers rights?

    How does allowing counties to decide if they want to elect or appoint their local school superintendant take away teacher rights?

    How does saying no one should have job protections in place that are so great that it makes it all but impossible to remove bad employees take away reasonable teacher rights?


    How does saying a school system should be able to negotiate with who ever they want to (Even down to individual teachers) take away from a teachers rights?

    How does saying the state does not have to provide a dues collection services for unions take away a teachers rights?

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  8. "I could link to tons of stories (In fact in the past I have) on tenures protection of terrible teachers. Less then one tenth of 1% is ever fired."

    Senator, hate to do this to you but do you want to re-state this claim? I read the report and it does NOT say what you are implying unless you are saying ALL teachers are 'bad'! The report is also very clear that there is a process for dismissing teachers but that administrators either don't want to or don't have the time to document the wrong doing. Is there something wrong with requiring an administrator to document the reasons for seeking the dismissal of an employee? An employee I might add that is required by state law to have a college degree and at least be working toward an advanced degree? Thousands and thousands of dollars for college and you don't want them protected from an administrator who on a whim wants to get rid of them? Where's your sense of fairness Senator? School boards hear the charges and decide whether to dismiss a teacher. You are very good at misdirection and I give you credit for that.

    Not sure what 'opt out' is about. Opt out of what?

    I don't have a problem with more Charter schools Senator. You might find some agreement on some issues if you stop attacking teachers through the lens of attacking TEA. You are attacking the two things that teachers hold most dear.

    Provide concrete evidence, TCA number for example, that makes it impossible to dismiss 'bad' teachers. State law provides the reasons teachers can be dismissed. It has been on the books for decades yet you want them removed because you are angry with TEA? Good education policy Senator!

    Do you really think it is feasible for a Director of Schools to negotiate individual contracts with each teacher every year? Ask Superintendent McIntyre (?) in Knox County if that is something he has time to do every year. School boards employ one person and that is the director according to state law. Besides, board members either have a day job or are retired and have other things to do. And the board employs one person and DOES negotiate his/her contract.

    Where does the state provide dues deduction services? Locals do but I am not aware the State of Tennessee provides dues deductions for the TEA. What about dues paid to the TSBA? What about deductions for insurance or deductions for employees convenience? Many things are deducted from employees pay checks Senator. Are you going to prohibit all of them or only dues for TEA?

    Senator Campfield, the republicans swept into office somewhat due to the over-reaching tendencies of the democrats and I voted republican as I have for the past 40 years. I supported Zach Wamp in the primaries and campaigned for him but when he lost I supported Haslam. Guess Speaker Ramsey would be angry at me for that also. You should be careful that you and the other republicans attacking teachers do not over-reach because every two years half the senate and all the house have to stand before the voters and give an account. Perhaps you don't have to worry about the Farragut area but your colleagues may not be as fortunate.

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  9. I am good at misdirection? Well I guess I am in good company because I don't recall where I ever said all teachers were bad or that there was NO process to fire teachers. As the report said @50 are fired a year (out of 50,000+ teachers) less then 1 tenth of 1%. As the report also said the process is too unwieldy to effectively remove all but the absolute worst of the worst. Way too many layers.

    As for the education requirements you can blame that on the union as well. They do that to keep out outside people with real life experience who don’t necessarily need the union for their insurance etc. Look at those pesky TEA/NEA resolutions passed year after year if you want proof.

    You said "teachers are supposed to get parental consent forms." No, they are not there are no consent forms for the sex ed classes. Just the opposite. Kids don’t have parents sign a form to "Opt into" a class. They can only get a form if the parent mysteriously finds out what is going on before it happens and sends in a form "Opting out" of the class.

    " You are attacking the two things that teachers hold most dear" if you mean the guarantee of a job no matter the quality of the result then yes I am. You see I am more in support of the customer then the service provider. You seem to have forgotten that education is about the customer...The student.

    As for contract negotiations, allowing the negotiations with whomever makes for better opportunity to be able to reward producers and freeze out failures. If a producer is frozen out unjustly, they will be able to take their skills to someone who will appreciate and reward their skills. Negotiations can be large or small, the person negotiating can make that decision.

    My understanding of the limit on pay deductions will be on groups that are politically active no matter what group they are with, no matter what side of the political spectrum they fall on.

    As for your not so veiled threats of political blowback, like I said, I support the customer, the student, the parent and yes, the good teacher as well. I have little to no sympathy for the lazy non productive teachers (or state employees) who think after 4 years they should be able to lazily suckle at the government teat for the rest of their life. If there are fellow legislators that I serve with who have no problem with it then I would not mind seeing them changed for people who do care about the customer no matter their party affiliation.

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  10. Truthsayer,
    Sorry, but you are failing to convince me that as a TEA member you are not by default an NEA member and fund its existence (and all that lobbying and those campaign contributions) with your dues. To suggest that somehow the state affiliates do not fund the NEA (where else do their members/dues come from?) is absurd. I don't pretend that the NEA/TEA actually represents their paying customers (teachers). I find that labor unions rarely do. They serve themselves at any cost. They are the labor hustlers just as Jackson/Sharpton/Farrakhan, et al are the race hustlers. Without a labor conflict, they have no reason to exist - so sometimes it is necessary to manufacture one (does the appeal to fear "a lawsuit might originate from your students, so you need us for insurance if nothing else" sound familiar?). Common Core State Standards will keep the NEA in your pockets for years to come - which is of course why they were against it, but now are all for it.

    I just cannot understand why so many dues-payers continue to defend an organization (and send them money off the top of every paycheck)they allegedly don't agree with. When teachers as a group pay the NEA, teachers as a group enable ALL of their political activity. Teachers want monolithic union "protection", but they don't want to own up to the stances and activities of their union that they fund - or the bad apples their union protects. You can't position yourselves as monochrome TEA "widgets" rather than individuals and not expect to be treated as widgets. The union puts you in the position of being generalized as a group - because that is what you have asked and paid for. There are no "good" or "bad" teachers in a union, just dues payers.

    Regarding Klan Parenthood, I call Margaret Sanger's eugenic "Negro Project" as I see it. I find it hypocritical that the NEA will issue resolutions to boycott a wine company or say what they think "ought to happen" in a classroom (whether they control that or not), and not address the mass-murderers that are actually in their classrooms.

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  11. "My understanding of the limit on pay deductions will be on groups that are politically active no matter what group they are with, no matter what side of the political spectrum they fall on.' TSBA is not included in this prohibition and you know it. It is ONLY TEA and you know that too. Your concern for taxpayer dollars funding political activity apparently ends with TSBA dues.

    "As for contract negotiations, allowing the negotiations with whomever makes for better opportunity to be able to reward producers and freeze out failures. If a producer is frozen out unjustly, they will be able to take their skills to someone who will appreciate and reward their skills. Negotiations can be large or small, the person negotiating can make that decision." In a discussion with a director of schools today he is absolutely opposed to having to negotiate every teachers contract every year. Budget matters and making sure the system is in compliance with all the government rules and regs takes a lot of time. Then he has to actually supervise the supervisors and principals as well as work on curriculum and data and you want him to now negotiate hundreds of contracts?

    "the guarantee of a job no matter the quality of the result" Once again you make the claim that teachers are guaranteed a job. That is untrue, again. In a recent meeting we asked the teachers present if they knew of any teacher that had been dismissed and EVERY teachers hand went up. An administrator in attendance said it wasn't hard to dismiss a teacher IF the administrator did his job and had the documentation.

    "You said "teachers are supposed to get parental consent forms." No, they are not there are no consent forms for the sex ed classes." Senator you are correct on this point. I did not make my point clear. Parents are supposed to be told of the 'class' by either teachers or administrators and if they want their child to not attend they can request that. We do that through newsletters or flyers home to parents. You are incorrect in that teachers have control of who comes in and teaches those classes.

    "As for the education requirements you can blame that on the union as well. They do that to keep out outside people with real life experience who don’t necessarily need the union for their insurance etc. Look at those pesky TEA/NEA resolutions passed year after year if you want proof." Give examples to back up your claims.

    "I have little to no sympathy for the lazy non productive teachers (or state employees) who think after 4 years they should be able to lazily suckle at the government teat for the rest of their life." And of course you are the one to decide who the lazy teachers who just suckle at the governments teat are? I forgot, Tennessee is yours and we just live in it and have rights you decide we have when you decide we have them. Your description of lazy government employees at the government teat sounds a lot like career politicians! How long have you been on the teat?

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  12. As I said, I support or would support it if it were for all orgs. As I recall TEA donates money to campaigns. I may be wrong but I am pretty sure TSBA does not. Either way I would support an all out ban.

    Negotiations can be done at any level with groups large or small. No school system has gone broke or producer worse results for children (that I know of) because they negotiated with individuals.

    Have teachers been fired. Yes. The problem is it is so rare as to be almost non existent. As was said it is less then 1/10 of 1%. Virtually non existent. Those cases are so bad they practically have to rape a kid to get fired. A lower rate then doctors losing their license, lawyers being disbarred or about any certified profession losing their certification.

    Again, Where did I say teachers decide who comes in to teach the sex ed classes? Another false claim by you. If you want the NEA/TEA resolutions you can google them on this blog.


    I have been in govt service 6 years (Going into the 7th) The difference is I could be fired every 2 years if the people did not approve of my results. No contract for me. And no tears if I were to lose.

    As for the teachers you say I think I should have ultimate power to fire, No, I would leave it up to a principal or school super with the quality results of that teacher to decide if they deserved to be retained.

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