JC Bowman Commentary: Grow Your Own Teachers

Tennessee is a unique state, not only because we have the greatest citizens, but because of our geography.  We border eight states.  That can be an advantage and a disadvantage at times.  When economic times are good, people want to relocate to our state.  When economic times are difficult, it allows residents to move to a neighboring state and pursue more money in their chosen occupation.  In education, we lose teachers to our border states on a regular basis.

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JC Bowman Commentary: The Looming Changes in Student Teaching

As educators, we are concerned about the quality and quantity of applicants entering the field of education.   Our members have often been catalysts for innovative solutions to the many challenges facing education.  That is why we take an interest in the next generation of educators and why our focus is on how to improve their experience and support as they transition from teacher candidate to classroom teacher.

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A Primer on Collaborative Conferencing

The Tennessee General Assembly was clear in 2011 that they wanted to get politics out of our public schools while supporting teachers’ rights to fight for higher wages and better working conditions. Professional Educators of Tennessee fervently supports the right of educators to discuss working conditions and salary with their employers.

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Superintendent Should Report to Nashville’s Mayor, Carol Swain Tells WSMV, But Education Expert Says State Requires School Boards to Oversee Directors

  WSMV polled the four major Nashville mayoral candidates on whether the Metro Nashville Public Schools superintendent should report to the mayor instead of the school board, and only one said “Yes.” That candidate was Dr. Carol Swain. WSMV’s story is here. The Metro Nashville mayoral candidates who were polled…

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JC Bowman Commentary: The Importance of Mentors for Teachers and Administrators

Our suggestion is to ensure that money is included in the future Basic Education Program (BEP) to allow for mentorship to occur, either by utilizing highly effective retired educators or granting stipends to experienced classroom teachers with a proven track record in classroom management.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Selecting New School Superintendents – Dance of the Lemons or Parade of Favorites?

No matter who your district hires—whether from within or bringing in an experienced educator from outside—give that new leader a chance. Don’t be afraid to hold them accountable.

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Legislature Approves Bill to Create Charter School Authorizing Commission

The Tennessee Senate on Thursday approved legislation creating an independent state commission to approve public charter schools in Tennessee. Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-TN-31) is the sponsor of SB0796. The tracking information is here. The bill, which also passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, is a key part of Governor…

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Commentary: Celebration of Easter and Passover

This weekend marks a Holy Week for many citizens across Tennessee and the world, as we celebrate Passover and Easter. In America, religious beliefs are critical to many of our founding principles. There is no denying the significant impact that faith has had on our nation, from the Puritans to…

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Professional Educators of Tennessee Launches ‘Make the Choice’ Initiative to Recruit Students to Public Schools

As Tennessee policymakers discuss the issue of school choice Professional Educators of Tennessee (“PET”) is launching a positive, pro-public education initiative to make sure public education is viewed as a valid choice that parents can make for their children. “We are excited to announce a new initiative by PET to help…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Strike Out in Tennessee

In education, strikes are detrimental to children, parents, the community, and the profession. A strike is a throwback to an archaic factory model of governance. Public education in Tennessee wins when we all work together through civil discourse to address our considerable issues, not with outworn strategies from the industrial age.

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Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account Plan Will Offer School Choice to Less Than One Percent of Tennessee Students in 2020

Gov. Bill Lee is moving forward on his campaign pledge of school choice in the form of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) available in 2020, although only about one-half of one percent of the state’s students would qualify to participate in the program’s first year. The governor delivered his first State…

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Republican Senate Leaders Praise Gov. Lee’s ‘Conservative’ Budget in State of the State Address

Reactions poured in from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s first State of the State and budget address, which was delivered Monday night. The responses included statements by three Republican Senate leaders. Lt. Gov. and Sen. Randy McNally (R-TN-05) said: “In his first State of the State address, Bill Lee rightly pointed out…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Let the Committee Decide

How did a system designed to provide government of, by, and for the people devolve into a system in which bureaucrats unaccountable to voters produce masses of law that was never voted on by an elected official?

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JC Bowman Commentary: Losing Our Brightest Students

Have we pushed some of our best and brightest students, including students of color, aside in the name of equity? JC Bowman identifies why that answer is yes.

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JC Bowman Commentary: A Bright Future in Workforce & Education

One of the challenges we face in Tennessee moving forward is the need to further develop and align the education-to-career pipeline.  Governor-elect Bill Lee probably expressed this better than any candidate on the campaign trail, and his potential as governor in this arena offers great hope for a brighter future for Tennessee.

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JC Bowman Commentary: New Year, New Leaders

A new year is a time for reflection and more importantly a time for hope. It will require ethical leadership and tireless advocacy for issues that you care about, but the promise of a new year brings the best hope for mankind. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: Open Enrollment is a Choice

As the focus on education choice is elevated by Governor-elect Bill Lee, maybe the easiest place to find initial consensus is with open enrollment. We must expand open enrollment policies in our public school districts.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Time to Address Teacher Morale

There is no one size fits all strategy that will work in every school or district.  This is a recurring theme among those who believe in local control in public education.  Together, we can work to address teacher morale issues.  Once a plan is in place, it is very important to examine, evaluate, and adjust as necessary. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: A K12 Education Agenda We Should Embrace

Lee has stated his three major priorities: 1) Getting our students ready to enter the workforce; 2) Strengthening the foundations of a quality system; and 3) Encouraging innovation.  It is a K12 education agenda we should embrace.   

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JC Bowman Commentary: Blueprint for Transition in Education

Bill Lee ran as a conservative, and should govern as a conservative. He stressed the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong education system.

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Education Commissioner McQueen Taking Job With National Teaching Institute

Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen will leave her post in January for the top position at a national nonprofit that addresses teaching, The Tennessean said. McQueen’s departure to become CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, focused on aiding in training, attracting and supporting teachers, means she will not…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Collaborative Conferencing Limits Educators

Tennessee Star

Professional Educators of Tennessee fervently supports the right of educators to discuss working conditions and salary with their employers. There are flaws in the current Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act (Public Chapter 378). Are there other options?  We believe so and toward that end, Professional Educators of Tennessee has begun to establish Education Leaders Councils in some districts to accomplish more for teachers.  It will help us cultivate true consensus building and address more critical issues. 

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Education Policy: 9 Issues to Address in 2019

Tennessee Star

Public education is not “broken.” Public education policy is “broken,” and neighborhood public schools are suffering the consequences.  Here are nine of the most critical and challenging issues in public education we should address in 2019 in Tennessee.

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Commentary: Changing the School Culture

His biggest piece of advice is to “get out of the office, get in the hallways, in the classrooms, in the community. No school in Tennessee has changed its culture more than ‘The Mount’. This school culture is an example of a strategy that other schools and districts can duplicate.

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Commentary: School Culture and Chronic Behavior Problems

We need to address some of the more critical issues many educators in our public schools face: chronic discipline issues with students with behavior issues that cannot be easily addressed in a classroom setting, with a non-supportive school climate

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JC Bowman Commentary: Celebrate Constitution Day

Signing the Constitution painting

Our founding principles are critical as our country moves forward, if we are to survive as a nation.  It is one area in which Americans are likely to find agreement. We celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th every year.

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JC Bowman Commentary: We Remember September 11

Twin Towers

We must remember September 11th in our homes and in our classrooms and engage in this important dialogue. Never let it be said that the flame of freedom was extinguished on our watch. That can be summed up in two words: We Remember.

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Commentary: Thanking Those Who Built America

trade, craftsman

Labor Day has many meanings, but one meaning is that we must recognize the incredible effort and work it took to build this great country. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: Tone Deaf School Districts 

JC Bowman

“If you don’t understand — from the school district to the superintendents — that we want our teachers held harmless, then I’m sorry, you’re tone-deaf.” —-State Representative Eddie Smith (Knoxville). That message was heard and understood statewide, right?  Apparently not.  We are receiving reports from across the state that some districts are denying their teachers their justified and earned bonuses, which harms the educator.

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JC Bowman Commentary: A Few More Thoughts on Testing in Tennessee…

students in class

All stakeholders want to get testing right.  However, the emphasis on testing misses the bigger issue:  student academic growth measured by flawed testing.  Then the results being used in educator evaluations.  This is certainly more problematic to educators than the actual tests themselves. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: Testing is Open for Debate

Professional Educators of Tennessee raised the issue on Testing, with a hard-hitting editorial called the Trouble with Testing. Professional Educators of Tennessee did NOT support the use of that data on teacher evaluations, nor did they sign a support letter on the original grant submission., which the Tennessee Education Association did.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Time to Separate PACS from Lobbying

dealmakers

Professional Educators of Tennessee will continue to lobby for public education.  However, we will never endorse political parties or candidates as an organization on behalf of our members.  We also do not have a PAC, nor do we plan to ever start one.  It would harm our effectiveness.  We must advance public education without the divisive tribalism of partisan politics, and we will only get involved in education related issues.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Unions Are in Politics for Power, Money, and Influence

sly bribe

For groups like Professional Educators of Tennessee, it is simple.  We must advance public education without the divisive tribalism of partisan politics, and we will only get involved in education related issues.  The union never stops in its quest for power and control over public education. 

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Way Down Yonder in Maury County

Maury County Schools

Every budget tells a story—about your spending plan, priorities, goals, and financial health. What story are you telling your community about the importance of public education in your community? We understand that it is an election year and politics are driving the debate.

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Rumor Control: Setting the Record Straight on PreK/Kindergarten Portfolios

JC Bowman

Social media was hard at it this weekend over the PreK/Kindergarten Student Growth Portfolio Model.  While Professional Educators of Tennessee is not sold on the portfolio process, it is the current law (see T.C.A. §§ 49-6-103–49-6-110).  We believe the current portfolio system takes up too much time for our educators. …

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Trevecca’s Shining Star: Dr. Suzann Harris

Professional Educators of Tennessee recognized Dr. Suzann “Suzie” Barker Harris with one of our prestigious “Friend of the Educator” Award.  She is a shining star for Trevecca and a model for people of faith who is worthy of distinction to all educators. 

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