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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JC Bowman Commentary: Exposed in a Technological Age

classroom

An old and wise saying challenges us to: “Believe nothing you hear, half of what you read, and some of what you see.”  It is critical to examine issues from all angles, rejecting gossip, mistruths, bias or information not supported or misinterpreted.  Put what you see or read into proper context to make sure what you think you are seeing is factual. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: Teachers Are Going, Going….Gone

Teacher

JC Bowman writes: “Teacher turnover will eventually lead to a teacher shortage, if the supply of new teachers via traditional or alternative routes cannot keep up with the demand. Research indicates that high rates of turnover harm student achievement in schools and districts.”

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JC Bowman: A Few Thoughts on Educational Assessment and Evaluation

JC Bowman

The risk of misidentifying and mislabeling teacher performance based on test scores is too high for it to be the major indicator of teacher performance, especially when you look at issues such as student demographic characteristics. A number of states, including Michigan, have since taken steps to lessen the impact test scores have on teacher evaluations, repeatedly mentioning factors outside an educator’s control which can influence a student’s academic performance. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: On Combining the Departments of Education and Labor

Departments of Education and Labor

President Trump’s concept to merge the U.S. Department of Education with the Department of Labor lacks significant details and will be difficult to maneuver through a deeply divided Congress.

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JC Bowman Commentary: A Modern Approach to Educator Representation

teacher

Most educators are not buying into a more militant, progressive labor movement beholden to the far left. Educators nationally often spend hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of dollars per year on union dues.  There are much more cost-effective alternatives, like Professional Educators of Tennessee.   That is what makes groups like Professional Educators of Tennessee different.  We offer a modern approach to educator representation, legal protection and unmatched educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.  There are non-union alternatives for educators in other states as well.  Nobody wants to return the 1950’s.    

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JC Bowman Commentary: Lives, Fortunes, and Honor

US flags w airman

JC Bowman writes: Freedom should never be taken for granted.  Today we are debating the very concept of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America.  While many citizens are very passionate about our country, others seem disillusioned and some openly hostile.  It is why the Declaration of Independence is such an important document. It expresses what it means to be an American. 

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JC Bowman Commentary: SCOTUS Janus Decision Will Make Unions More Accountable to Their Members

Mark Janus

The Janus Decision will not create drastic structural changes to unions.  It will simply make them more accountable to their own members.  And in the case of teacher unions, this greater accountability should focus on making the quality of education front and center, help public education rebuild support from the public for issues like raising teacher pay and school funding, and work for the common good of all students and educators.

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JC Bowman Commentary: My Father’s Son

JC Bowman

It is an ancient ritual of fathers and their children. The child yearning to grow into adulthood, and a father’s tough love. Mothers can be demanding, but they have that nurturing and caring side that escapes most men. Fathers try to instill discipline in order to help their children succeed in a heartless, often uncaring, world.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Are You Called to Teach?

Teacher and Kids

Teaching is indeed an imposing, self-sacrificing, but also a magnanimous calling. There is no other profession, except perhaps the clergy, that can change lives like a public-school teacher.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Dark Money + Union Money = Corrupt Politics

Dark Money

This election cycle we have already seen an influx of unaccountable cash, known as dark money, which pours into our state. Outside money hurts more than it helps. Tennessee voters were not swayed by big spending outsiders. It is worth noting the message the outsiders bring is almost always negative. If you don’t think this is an erosion of democracy, you’re not thinking about it hard enough. The formula is simple: Dark Money + Union Money = Corrupt Politics

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JC Bowman Commentary: Mothers, Wives and an Everlasting Love

JC Bethany Mothers Day

If language is everything, we could not, even if we tried, honor the women that shapes and inspires our lives. No matter how much you thank the woman who does it all for her children, once a year is never enough.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Legislators – One Last Thing Before You Go!

The continued feasibility of using a complicated statistical method as an evaluation tool for teachers will certainly be further debated by stakeholders and policymakers in the foreseeable future. However, the issue that members of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly must address before leaving for home is making sure our teachers are not penalized by flawed test results and scores from this year on a teacher’s 3-year average.

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JC Bowman Commentary: April is Autism Awareness

Autism is a spectrum of behaviors, and every autistic person is different in terms of onset, severity, and types of symptoms. People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and social activities. Autism is a growing global health priority, and April is National Autism Awareness Month.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Just Follow the Law

U.S. Supreme Court

If a teacher or administrator has done something that warrants a reprimand or suspension, then address that issue and allow due process to take place. When school districts try to avoid following the law, the recourse will eventually and most certainly end up in court.

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Combatting Sexual Misconduct in the Classroom

The safety and well-being of students is the highest priority of any school. Any educator sexual misconduct or sexual abuse that involves children destroys trust and harms the entire school community.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Keeping Union Members Trapped

An expected U.S. Supreme Court decision, will change the political landscape. And unions are desperately trying to hold on to their political power after Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is ruled on, the political landscape may very well change.

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JC Bowman Commentary: No More Political Volleyball

The first step in school safety is securing the perimeter of a school. It seems like simple logic we keep intruders out and also make sure the area inside those boundaries are safe for children and adults. Students are our priority, but teachers need protection too.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Protecting the Teaching Profession

teacher

The OREA report on Educator Sexual Misconduct has made clear that Tennessee has a fractured, ambiguous reporting system that has allowed educators who have engaged in sexual misconduct to slip through the cracks.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Supreme Court Case Janus v. AFSCME

People shouldn’t be forced to surrender their First Amendment right to decide for themselves what organizations they support just because they decide to work for the state, their local government or a public school.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Teaching is NOT for Everyone

In order to advance the ideals and standards of the teaching profession, we must not be afraid make Tennessee a better place for teachers to teach and students to learn. This means we must embrace the highest ethical standards for those who educate children and keep those who dishonor the profession out of our classrooms.

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Commentary: States and School Districts Need More Flexibility for Child Nutrition

School Lunch

It is essential that federal control over public education be limited. Our policies should empower states and local school districts to have the ability to make menu planning, food procurement, and contract decisions for their meal programs.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Optimism Wins!

You remind yourself that the holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness, gathering of friends and family and most importantly optimism for the coming New Year. Yet you get inundated with reminders of the holidays that may conjure up unresolved issues like grief caused by a missing friend…

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JC Bowman Commentary: The Role of a School Board

Tennessee Star

Local school boards reflect the needs and aspirations of the communities as well as the interests and concerns of professional and nonprofessional employees. We believe non-partisan control is what is best for our communities. This is best ensured when educational policy is made by representatives vested in the community they live, and whose undivided attention and interests are devoted strictly to education of the children in that district. What we stress in a nutshell: Public education is a federal concern, a state responsibility, and a local operation.

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Education Commissioner McQueen Convenes Testing Assessment Task Force

McQueen

The role of state tests should always be to supplement other feedback loops that teachers, parents, and districts use to get a more complete picture of a student’s development, including classroom performance, report cards, portfolios, performances, and other ways students show their development. State tests are not meant to be the sole driver of instructional decisions. The information from an assessment should provide educators, parents, and students with a better perspective on how the students are succeeding academically compared to their peers across Tennessee.

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JC Bowman Commentary: What Is a Superintendent of Schools?

The superintendent, like principals, must also demonstrate a keen understanding of teaching, learning and what works for students. As a change leader, a successful superintendent should emphasize the efficient use of resources, personnel, and data to break down resistance and drive systemic change; empower board and personnel to set goals, measure results, develop accountability, and support planning, evaluation, and resource allocation.

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Commentary: Reflecting on Our Bill of Rights

Regardless of personal political persuasion or affiliation, American citizens can unite around the Bill of Rights because it communicates our basic shared values. Limiting the power of government and safeguarding the rights of our citizens is something we must all make a conscientious effort to protect. We should be especially appreciative for the protection afforded in our Bill of Rights against a national government gaining ground against our most fundamental rights—freedom of speech, protest, and conscience guarantees our equal protection under the law. A free society does not just occur. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Mandates Must Include Funding

US Capitol

State mandates must include funding, and if districts use their own resources then they should be free to create their own program, modify the RTI2 program or discontinue it all together. The question legislators must answer: Does the RTI2 program work? If the answer is yes the program is working, then the state should indeed fully fund it. If the answer is no, then that message will also be sent by the Tennessee General Assembly.

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Beth Harwell Calls for State Legislative Hearings on TNReady Testing Problems

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) is calling for state legislative hearings on problems with TNReady scoring. “We have made great strides over the last several years in education, and we must be diligent in ensuring we continue these gains,” Harwell said on Facebook Tuesday. “We know that accountability has been a…

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