So now every idiot reason that can be dreamed up is broadcast as the rationale for crushing teachers in Tennessee. Now the reason for taking away workers' rights: TEA likes homosexuals and Darwin.
Who put the John Birch Society in charge of education policy in Tennessee? Was that Haslam?
This can be stopped if Tennesseans show show that volunteer spirit and volunteer to call their legislators, write letters, and make their voices heard above the ignorant hate of the wingnuts.
. . . .Although teacher pay in Tennessee is below the national average, tea party and anti-tax leader Ben Cunningham said he attended Wednesday's hearing to support the bill because he believes collective bargaining leads to higher taxes. "The TEA is invariably in favor of higher taxes and bigger government. They are a political organization," he said.
The bills surfaced when lawmakers reconvened Feb. 7 from a three-week recess. But the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, FACT, Eagle Forum and Professional Educators of Tennessee -- a small conservative alternative to TEA -- quietly laid groundwork. PET and the School Boards Association held a forum on the issue Feb. 10.
In its 2011 "Legislators Guide to Issues," the Center for Policy Research -- which proclaims its views as "free markets, individual liberty, limited government" -- calls for allowing schools and teachers to opt out of salary scales and encourages performance pay for teachers.
Fowler said conservatives are rallying behind the bills because they "have been frustrated with positions taken by the NEA and TEA -- more so by the NEA." These include, he said, support for the "Darwinian view of evolution."
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, charged last year that TEA advocated a "homosexual lifestyle" -- which TEA chief lobbyist Jerry Winters angrily denied in a hearing.
TEA declines labeling the bills an attack by Republicans in general. Winters cites its agreement to a controversial measure that passed last year with heavy GOP support requiring 50 percent of a teacher's annual evaluation to be based on student performance measures. TEA also says it is willing to talk with Gov. Bill Haslam about his tenure-weakening proposals unveiled Thursday.
But Winters did say the 51,000-member TEA is under assault by conservatives. "The fact that the tea party and the Eagle Forum and some of these far-right, out-of-the-mainstream groups are supporting this ought to send a message to the citizens that this is not about education, it's about politics." . . .