Since October, Knox County educators have been voicing frustrations about evaluations, curriculum requirements and work conditions, voices that grew louder as fall turned winter. In December, school officials announced the creation of an ad-hoc group composed of teachers and administrators to hear those concerns and report back to the board. That report is expected tonight.
The Knox County Board of Education will meet for a regular mid-month work session this evening. But the discussion will likely be anything but regular. Educators, parents and supporters are waiting to hear what the teacher working group has to say. The panel includes teachers, Knox County Education Association president Tanya Coats, school board chair Lynne Fugate and system superintendent Jim McIntyre.
The board's agenda also includes discussions about the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). That system has caught a lot of flak from educators for being inflexible and setting unrealistic standards. State education officials, including Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, have defended the TVAAS, saying that surveys reflect growing teacher satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Knox County Commission Chairman Tony Norman is expected to continue the discussion over teacher concerns at tonight's commission work session, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Norman, now retired after a 30-year career in the Knox County school system, will likely reiterate the frustrations he said he shares.
“These teachers are pushed to the brink,” Norman told the News Sentinel earlier this month. “And they’re doing everything they can to make it.”