The problems surrounding the TN Ready standardized tests for students has state lawmakers burning the midnight oil Wednesday night.
They had hoped to be on their way home and put an end to this year’s session but issues surrounding TN Ready and amendments have caused a delay in the close of session. A major stumbling block is a unanimous House measure making sure teachers are not evaluated by this year’s TN Ready school tests – unless they choose to do so.
Now, the entire state budget is being held hostage by the House unless the issue is resolved.
The bill – House Bill 2426 has several amendments and calls for the Tennessee comptroller’s office to go in and review the TN Ready process, its scoring system for the test known as TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System) and to make sure the data collected does in fact hold teachers harmless.
“This isn’t a partisan issue, this isn’t republican or Democrat this is about our teachers and at the end of the day we have to send a strong message that we are going to fight for our teachers,” said Representative Matthew Hill, a Republican who represents District 7.
The entire house including democrats felt last week’s agreement about what to do with this year’s TN Ready results did not go far enough for teachers so they drafted a new bill.
“We sent that language to be signed, his department of education looked over that language and started finding ways to still hold teachers accountable and that was not the spirit of what we did, of the agreement,” said State Representative Antonio Parkinson, who represents district 98.
Members of the Senate indicated it did not want to revisit the issue.
“We’re talking about a 36 million dollar contract, we literally to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars have moved towards this process with literally nothing to show for it,” said State Representative Andy Holt, who represents District 76.
Members of the House decided to hold the budge and sent the Senate and Governor Haslam this message.
“We’re going to keep the budget nice and tidy in the House of Representatives until our teachers are held harmless,” said Representative Hill.
This is a fluid situation. TN Ready legislation is being discussed currently on the Senate Floor. Local 24 expects this to be a long night ahead and we will be sure to keep you updated with developments.