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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Payroll Deduction Bill May Provide More Access to All Groups Representing Teachers

  Thursday morning the Tennessee Senate will consider a payroll deduction bill that will provide teachers with an option to get politics out of their paychecks. For many, it will also provide equal access to payroll deduction for dues payment for groups other than the increasingly liberal activism of the…

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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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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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JC Bowman Commentary: Student Discipline Is Out of Control

It would be awesome if every educator had a positive and supportive working environment where they could thrive personally and professionally, and where they were free to exercise their expertise and explore the full limits of their talents.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Legislation That Hurts School Discipline

Lack of student discipline, inadequate administrative support, and lack of respect are frequently cited why teachers leave the profession. The continued barrage of top-down legislation by the Tennessee General Assembly does not help.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Helping Our Children with Dyslexia

Teacher and Kids

Data shows that one in five students or more than 200,000 in the state have characteristics of dyslexia. Dyslexia affects you regardless of race, gender, or political affiliation.

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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: 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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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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Professional Educators of Tennessee to Conduct Legislative Survey

teacher

Professional Educators of Tennessee is conducting a legislative survey of educators across the state. Frequent areas that we hear from educators:  School Safety & Security, Teacher Compensation and Recruitment, School Funding, and Assessment.  We believe policymakers need to address these issues in 2019,

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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: 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: 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: The Intent and Spirit of Collaborative Conferencing

Tennessee Star

Are we striving toward achievement of the original objective of the PECCA law?  It is clear, a course adjustment may be in order.  Eliminating needless lawsuits, staying focused on the purpose, including more teachers in the process, and having impartial training moving forward will better establish a peaceful, stable employer-employee relationship. Who could oppose those common-sense changes? 

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JC Bowman Commentary: Giving Tennessee Educators a Choice and a Voice

teacher

As teachers and administrators go back to school across the state, they will have a choice in what teacher association in which they want to join.  We hope they will join Professional Educators of Tennessee.  As an independent, Tennessee -focused professional association, we keep our membership dues low by ensuring that…

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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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The Tennessee Education Association Embraces the Union Label in Washington D.C., Denies It in Nashville

NEA headquarters

JC Bowman writes: “There are many other completely, independent non-union organizations now in America that represents public school educators, giving them a clear, non-union voice.  This means they do not spend a large portion of their lobbying efforts and their political funds focusing on bills and causes that fall outside the scope of education.”

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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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Professional Educators of Tennessee: SCOTUS Janus Decision a Victory for Workers’ First Amendment Rights

Mark Janus

The U.S. Supreme Court announced a 5-4 decision on Wednesday in Janus v. American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, that reaffirms the First Amendment, especially people’s freedom of association. The ruling today eliminates compulsory unionism, which requires individuals to join a union as a condition of…

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