Page 1

Planning to Retire?

What You Need to Know Now page 6

Published by the TENNESSEE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION November 2011  Vol. 43, No. 4 

Evaluate This:

Teachers Report Evaluation Experiences page 11

Leader of the PAC

Jefferson Co. President Reinvigorates Political Action page 3

Speaking out with you teach (USPS 742-450, ISSN 15382907) is published monthly (except for June, July and December) by the Tennessee Education Association, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville TN 37201-1099. Periodical postage paid at Nashville, TN. The subscription price of $3.65 is allocated from annual membership dues of $254.00 for active members; $127.00 for associate, education support and staff members; $16.00 for retired members; and $10.00 for student members. Member of State Education Editors Conference (SEE). Postmaster: Send address changes to teach, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201-1099. MANAGING EDITOR: Alexei Smirnov PUBLISHER: Alphonso C. Mance MANAGER OF COMMUNICATIONS: A.L. Hayes

Tennessee Education Association 801 Second Avenue North Nashville, TN 37201-1099 Telephone: (615)242-8392, Toll Free: (800)342-8367, (800)342-8262 Fax: (615)242-7397 Website:

BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT: Gera Summerford* (800)342-8367 VICE PRESIDENT: Barbara Gray* (901)353-8590 SECRETARY-TREASURER: Alphonso C. Mance (615)242-8392 DISTRICT 1 Leisa Lusk (423)928-6819 DISTRICT 2 Melinda Reese (423)587-2120 DISTRICT 3 Karen Starr (423)628-2701 DISTRICT 4 Tanya Coats DISTRICT 5 Sandy Smith (423)991-8856 DISTRICT 6 Beth Brown* (931)779-8016 DISTRICT 7 Bonnie T. Dixon (931)967-9949 DISTRICT 8 Kawanda Braxton (615)554-6286 DISTRICT 9 Erick Huth (615)973-5851 DISTRICT 10 Guy Stanley (615)384-2983 DISTRICT 11 Melanie Buchanan* (615)305-2214 DISTRICT 12 Debbie D’Angelo (731)247-3152 DISTRICT 13 Ernestine King (901)590-8188 DISTRICT 14 Sarah Kennedy-Harper (901)416-4582 DISTRICT 15 Stephanie Fitzgerald (901)872-4878 ADMINISTRATOR EAST Johnny Henry (865)509-4829 ADMINISTRATOR MIDDLE Margaret Thompson (615)643-7823 ADMINISTRATOR WEST Charles Green (901)624-6186 HIGHER EDUCATION Vacancy BLACK CLASSROOM TEACHER EAST Paula Hancock (865)694-1691 BLACK CLASSROOM TEACHER MIDDLE Alzenia Walls (615)230-8144 BLACK CLASSROOM TEACHER WEST LaVerne Dickerson* (901)416-7122 STATE SPECIAL SCHOOLS Vacancy ESP Christine Denton (931)647-8962 TN NEA DIRECTOR Stephen Henry* (615)519-5691 TN NEA DIRECTOR Diccie Smith (901)482-0627 TN NEA DIRECTOR Diane Lillard (423)478-8827 STEA MEMBER Caryce Gilmore (865)640-6590 TN RETIRED Gerald Lillard (423)478-8827 NEW TEACHER CandraClariette (615)506-3493 * Executive Committee


UniServ Staff contact information can be found on page 12.


November 2011

Gera Summerford, President

Al Mance, Executive Director

Never Give Up

Evaluation System Requires Common Sense

Never give up. It’s what we tell our students who struggle to master a new skill. It’s what a coach tells a team when it seems the odds are against them. It’s what a good mentor tells a colleague when she is frustrated and discouraged. These days many teachers are questioning whether they want to remain in our profession. Many of them just don’t know if they can survive this time of dramatic change in public education. A teacher wrote to me recently to say that she loves teaching, but she is beginning to hate her job, and too many of our best educators are thinking about looking for other work. It’s very clear that to attract and retain the most dedicated teachers, we need to stay focused on what first inspired us: our students. In my work to represent the voice of Tennessee teachers I emphasize the need for relief from unreasonable mandates and support for teachers and public schools. Meeting with Sen. Lamar Alexander in Washington, I spoke of the need to change the strict, punitive measures of NCLB to more attainable goals determined at the state and local level. Here in Nashville, I’ve met with Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to stress the importance of “To attract and retain the changing the evaluation most dedicated teachers, system in ways that we need to stay focused on will allow teachers and what first inspired us: our administrators to focus on meeting the needs students.” of children. When I talk to student members, our future teachers, I encourage them to never lose sight of the reasons they choose this profession. In every situation it’s appropriate that we remind ourselves of the underlying motives for our work: helping children. People who work in schools know that we can’t give up on kids who depend on us to prepare them for a brighter future. Our students rely on the bus driver who provides a safe ride to school and the cafeteria staff who prepare their meals each day. They need to know they can count on a friendly face in the school office and the special help they get from a devoted teaching assistant. Administrators, teachers, and support professionals share a compassion for children and a desire to impact their future. It’s important that our students spend their days with people for whom teaching is a passion, not just a job. Those of us who work with children every day are the real experts in education. Many policymakers are realizing that effective change must be guided by the people most directly involved. We cannot let ourselves be deterred from our important work. We remain determined to do our best for Tennessee students while working collectively for education policies that make sense. Now, more than ever.

At each of the 12 regional meetings TEA held across the state in August, a few teachers told us this will be their last year. They said the new evaluation system has exhausted them; they are teaching some of the worst lessons of their careers because of its useless and timeconsuming requirements. Some are being bullied by administrators using the evaluation as an opportunity to wreak havoc on them for some previous real or imagined offense they may have committed. These administrators are the exception, not the rule. One teacher said a principal required her to write a 37-page, minute-by-minute, script for the lesson being taught on the day she would be observed on the planning domain. Another spent eight to nine hours writing a required 26page lesson plan. Of course, the time they spend writing elaborate lesson plans detracts from the time available to prepare the actual activities for teaching the lesson and assisting students who need help. There are, of course, some administrators who have been indoctrinated into a system that values superficial indicators to judge effectiveness over more challenging and reliable metrics. This will ultimately undermine improvement of teaching and learning and the health of our schools. The purpose of the new evaluation system is to improve teaching. To be effective, the new teacher evaluation must provide teachers with constructive feedback to guide their efforts to improve their teaching. So far, we’ve heard of few teachers receiving useful feedback following their observations. Educators have known key elements of effective evaluation for decades. In the 1980’s, Madeline Hunter outlined four things highly effective teachers can do: 1) diagnose what each student now knows and what is next ready to be learned, 2) develop successful learning strategies for individual children as well as techniques for judging whether they have actually learned, 3) use research-based procedures to increase students’ motivation to learn, the rate and degree of learning, retention of learning, and its transfer to new situations that require creativity, problem solving, and decision making, and 4) discipline with dignity. Highly respected education researchers agreed, in the main, with Dr. Hunter’s conclusions. Common sense would dictate that an effective teacher evaluation system will assess and give teachers feedback on these essential elements of teaching. Many teachers believe administrators are being subtly coerced into giving ratings ambiguous enough to be similar to or lower than whatever the student test scores are likely to show. The result is that test data—which education scholars Kenneth Sirotnik and John Goodlad describe as superficial assessments of performance—become the critical driver of instruction. Thus testing turns into the sole diagnostic instrument for determining the health of education systems. It is the equivalent of a doctor using a thermometer as his sole diagnostic instrument. Such wrong-headed practices trivialize teaching and undermine our profession. TEA will not shrink from the battle to take back the teaching profession and establish effective teacher evaluation in Tennessee. Success will take all of us working together. You count.


isa Henry is blessed with a breathtaking view of Douglas Lake from her office window. It’s probably the best view in the county, if not the entire state. But the bucolic scenery offers no consolation to the Maury Middle School counselor who has seen teachers’ stress skyrocket to a point where she is worried about suicidal ideation among staff. As we talk in mid-October, shortly before recess, interrupted by phone calls and loudspeaker announcements, it becomes clear that what is happening to teachers across the state during this school year must be changed. The only way to change it is through political action, says Henry. A lifelong Republican and mother of a 16 year-old daughter, Henry is on a mission to bring more cohesiveness to local and state government. As president of Jefferson County Education Association, she knows it is her responsibility to share the needs of teachers with

Jefferson Middle School who said that ignorant voters have our country in the shape that it’s in today. “I’m sorry to say that I was one of those ignorant voters, but no more,” Henry says. “From now on, I’ll vote for those who will help me as a teacher.” JCEA had a political action committee in the past, but it was not utilized much as Jefferson County teachers and the local school board agreed on most issues. Today, things are different statewide. School boards need teachers’ input everywhere, whether they admit it or not. “The stress of our teachers dealing with evaluation and looking for time to teach is trickling down to the students,” Henry says. “I’m used to staying busy, but this year has been abnormal. I have kids in my office even before the school starts, and it goes on until 3:15 p.m. when all the buses are gone. There is no downtime. There is always somebody needing or wanting something.” By the time she gets home, Henry says she

lawmakers and state education officials “because we’re not sure they always get the right information about our needs.” Henry is quick to point out that JCEA has always had a great relationship with the local school board. Even so, the botched statewide implementation of the new teacher evaluation, repeal of professional negotiations and a slew of attacks on public school employees has her political juices flowing. “It’s not about fighting with anyone locally,” Henry

struggles to maintain a modicum of family life. Her husband Johnny Henry, who is assistant principal at Jefferson Middle and a former JCEA president, works until the wee hours on evaluation paperwork or keeping up with school duties because he was busy evaluating teachers during the day. “I have no family life right now,” Henry sighs. “My Rylee is tired of hearing about the school woes. She says, ‘Is there anything else to talk about?’ Yes, there is, but the stress is just all-consuming. Maybe it’s because we’ve allowed it to consume us.” Henry says in her 23 years of teaching she has never experienced anything like this. “You feel like you’re being eaten alive,” she adds. To conquer her own stress, Henry had to change a few things. She was never a political person. She admits that she hates politics, but her experience last year in Nashville’s State Capitol changed her perspective. “I’m one of those people who want everybody to get along and be happy, do what’s right and what’s best for everyone involved,” she says. “But when I went up there and heard and observed some of the things our legislators did, I decided to become a political person. I had to get involved in politics because we’ve got to have change.” Once the decision to restart the JCEA PAC was made, local retired teachers offered support. “We spent many years collectively in education and we want to stay informed,” says Opalee Queen with Jefferson County Retired Teachers. “While we can’t endorse the JCEA PAC as an organization, we want them to feel supported.” Queen says she encourages individual support of JCEA’s political action efforts among retired teachers. Once the PAC bylaws are set, Henry plans to schedule meetings with teachers and local government

The view from Lisa Henry’s office at Maury Middle School in Dandridge is not enough for stress relief these days. officials to get everyone on the same page regarding teacher evaluation and other issues currently affecting teachers. “There is just so much negative energy. If teachers, politicians and government officials could direct their negative energy to make a positive change, I’d like to

Lisa Henry: A Litle More Political Action, Please

“I’ve always voted Republican. From now on, I’ll vote for those who will help me as a teacher.” says. “We’re trying to get our state back on track. If politicians are getting into education, educators must get into politics. I don’t think I’ve ever been as fired up.” Every time she hears legislators say or imply that anyone can teach, Henry gets even more fired up. “I’m 46 years old, I spent half of my life in school, and I think I’m pretty darn good at what I do. I don’t think any of them could do this. How can they say that we’re so dumb we have to have TEA tell us how to think?” For years, Henry was just an Association member who paid no attention to what TEA said about the “political stuff.” When time came to vote, she voted, and she always voted Republican. Her mom and dad always voted Republican—and they must have known what they were doing. From now on, Henry says she’ll be an educated voter. Her daughter Riley recently quoted a teacher at

see it happen through this political action committee,” Henry says. When she was elected JCEA president, Henry asked for more teachers to get involved. Six or eight local leaders cannot accomplish much, she says. As teachers realize they can’t teach students because they are too busy piecing together “this dog-and-pony show” in order to keep their paycheck, they must know that something is wrong with the system and the only way to change it is through organizing. In the meantime, while some teachers attempt to wait out the evaluation mess, students are the ones who suffer, Henry says. As a school counselor, she sees an increased need for counseling among teachers, but it takes away from counseling time with students. “It’s a part of my role, and it hasn’t happened a lot, but I’m feeling the need to start some kind of stress management for the faculty,” she says. Among JCEA’s near-term plans is a letter-writing session combined with stress reduction therapy. As teachers write letters to officials, a local massage therapist will be on hand with bath salts and body oils at the ready to relieve anxiety. Henry’s strategy is to get rid of stress before tackling voter apathy. Most important of all, Henry says she’s not afraid. When she felt evaluation jitters getting to her, she decided to focus on the students. “When it comes to my job, it’s about how I deal with people, not how much data I collect or what evaluation scores I have,” she says. “Once I made that decision, I felt much better.” And to those who might say that getting too active politically means risking a job, Henry says, “What are they going to do, fire me? I’ll go back to school, get my LPC [licensed professional counselor license] and start my own private practice. Because God knows we’re going to have enough people in need of counseling.”

If your local is interested in starting a political action committee, please contact your UniServ Coordinator (contact info on page 12) or Jerry Winters, TEA manager of government relations, at 1.800.342.8367.


Distinguished Educator Awards Announced If you believe that excellence in education is both an art and a science that cannot be reduced to a number, the Tennessee Education Association invites you to find out how you can recognize TEA members at all levels of service and experience through the Distinguished Educator Awards Program. Every year, TEA honors educators who inspire students, parents, colleagues and the community through their talents, leadership and service. This year, the new teacher award winner will receive a surprise gadget much coveted both in the classroom and at home. The deadline for all the distinguished educator award categories is February 15, 2012. More details and nomination forms are available in the Scholarships, Awards and Grants section at

Leave it behind—TEA President Gera Summerford visits with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on October 18 to share Tennessee’s teachers’ perspective on the reauthorization of the ESEA, or the so-called No Child Left Behind law. Summerford was one of several Association leaders from across the nation to visit legislators who sit on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Look for your new TEA membership card in the mail TEA Card BLDG BLKS 1 Outlines.pdf 1 10/25/2011 9:15:56 AM




Mark Your Calendars for TEA Spring Symposium






Mark your calendar and make plans to join your colleagues at the 16th Annual Spring Symposium on March 16-17, 2012, at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg. This teaching and learning symposium offers TEA members an unparalleled opportunity to hone their teaching skills while enjoying time in the Great Smoky Mountains. Please stay tuned for further details regarding this event on the TEA website: 4

November 2011

Meet Lloyd Putney, Builder of Cabins and Character

Hot Issues, Cool Treats Bring Together Teachers, School Staff Let’s talk — Antoinette Lee of TEA Government Relations talks with Sevier Co. EA members Rebecca and Dennis Chambers, who teach at Sevierville Middle School.

Lloyd Putney and his students pose in front of their most recent project at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville. See for more photos.

In his eighth year of teaching, Lloyd “Sport” Putney is a celebrated career and technical education teacher with a hands-on approach to teaching and life. Instead of confining students to routine electrical and carpentry exercises, Putney is in the process of finishing the fourth cabin which already has a buyer, helps pay for the school’s CTE program and national competitions, such as Skills USA. One of Sullivan Central High School teachers lives in a cabin build in Putney’s class. At 700 square feet, the current cabin is the largest one built to date. Putney says it will be transported to Scott County, Va., before his class takes on the next project. “Someday hopefully all of my students will own a home,” Putney says. “They will be ready to fix anything.” Some of the 120 students involved in building the cabin have set their sights on careers in architecture, construction and engineering. After he left the construction industry for teaching, Putney went through some difficult adjustments with school administrators in his first teaching job at a different school. “Several times during my first year I would not have made it without TEA’s help,” Putney says. Sullivan County Education Association members and his UniServ coordinator helped Putney navigate those challenges. Today, Putney says teachers

are faced with a whole new set of challenges. “The feeling I get from our legislature and the public perception, or at least what is being portrayed as public perception, is that 98 percent of us need to go home,” Putney says. “In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Perhaps two percent of teachers should look for another career, but it happens everywhere—at Eastman Chemical, Mobil or any corporation.” Convinced that the current approach to teacher evaluation in Tennessee is not a sustainable way to address teacher quality, Putney hopes for a constructive and speedy change. “It seems that a ‘4’ and a ‘5’ will be really hard to get on our evaluations,” he says. “When students walk into my classroom, I would hate to tell them that the best grade they would get is a ‘C.’ I feel like that’s what we’re being told as teachers. I’m not blaming that on the administrators. I think the system is flawed. The parameters are not set the way they should be.” When Putney began his teaching career, he noticed that some of his colleagues were easily upset with students. He chose to take a different approach which works for him to this day. “When students walk through my classroom door, I give them respect and I try to earn their respect.” “Just saying ‘I am the teacher’ is not going to earn students’ respect,” Putney adds. Perhaps our legislators should pay attention to this lesson.

Share your story:

As part of TEA’s “Hot Issues, Cool Treats” campaign in October, TEA staff and UniServ coordinators visited more than 70 schools across Tennessee. Some 1,400 teachers and school staff shared their thoughts on a variety of issues, including the new teacher evaluation, merit pay, possible changes to the retirement system, parent accountability and other hot topics. Over ice cream and soft drinks, teachers and administrators talked about evaluation and shared concerns which will be forwarded anonymously to the state Board of Education and Governor Bill Haslam. Below are some of the comments shared by TEA members. “There’s too much paperwork and not enough time to do what is important—teach!” “Please do not change my retirement system!” “How are we to meet the same expectations with student success when some of our students come from such poor home environments?” “What happens to teachers who have maxed out their scores and have no room to show significant growth (AP, honors teachers)?” “Four observations are too many for a professional teacher.” “As a professional, I do not strive to be a ‘3’!” “The rubric does not take into account the attention span of the primary grades.” “The new evaluation model is horrible. It takes too much time. Teachers are overwhelmed.” “The evaluation process is not a fair assessment of teacher ability. There is no teacher growth from it, only frustration.” “I’m not against accountability. Can legislators hold parents partially accountable for their children’s education?”

Time to teach — Jefferson Co. EA member and physical sciences teacher Jessica Minton (second from left) poses with students before class at Jefferson County High School.



By Amanda Staggs he Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) offers three types of ordinary retirement to members: service, early and 25-year early retirement (optional to local governments). There are six different payment plans to choose from upon retiring: Regular Maximum, Social Security Leveling and Options 1 through 4. Upon retiring, members may choose only one payment  plan. Each payment plan is either a single-life  annuity or a survivor annuity. A single-life annuity

is only payable to you; upon your death, the  benefit stops. A survivor annuity is payable to  you through your lifetime and continues to your beneficiary upon your death. Survivor annuities  are reduced actuarially (i.e. reduction is based on  the estimated life expectancy of the member and




Age60andvested Service



30yearsregardlessofage Early 25ͲYearEarly





Thinking of retiring? Retirement planning is essential. For your first step, you should request an estimate from TCRS. It is beneficial to request an estimate at least six months to a year before you actually plan to retire. The estimate will provide you with the amount payable under each payment plan, including any applicable survivor benefits. Please refer to page 7

prior to termination; the date of retirement must immediately follow date of termination. Education support personnel should check with their human resources or insurance personnel regarding requirements and cost. A Medicare supplement plan (Medigap) is available for those teachers or education support personnel who are 65 or older (or have a spousal

Retirement: What Yo of the beneficiary) depending on the ages of the      

member and the beneficiary.  Members of TCRS are also eligible for three  types of disability retirement should one become totally and permanently disabled: ordinary,  accidental and inactive (optional to local governments). In order to qualify for ordinary  disability benefits, a current TCRS member  must be vested and be totally and permanently  disabled without the ability to engage in gainful employment. To obtain accidental disability  benefits, the member’s disability must be due to an on-the-job injury that disables the member  from engaging in gainful employment. Inactive disability benefits are available to members who  a were vested but have previously terminated from TCRS-covered employer; the member must also be unable to engage in gainful employment.

Factors to Consider When Planning for Retirement * Will I work or volunteer anywhere? * What type of lifestyle do I want to maintain? * How much will my Social Security benefits pay me? * Will I have a mortgage or second home? * What about my medical insurance? * Will my spouse be employed? * Do I have enough life insurance? * What should I do with my personal investment accounts? * How will my taxation be affected by retirement? * Is my estate planning complete? * What about future expenses? 6  November 2011

dependent age 65 or older). The state pays a for a sample calculation of service retirement. portion of the Medigap premium for retired You also need to consider medical insurance teachers with 15 or more years of service in TCRS coverage. Depending upon your employer, you will (this partial-premium payment is optional to local either have a state-sponsored health insurance governments). plan or a locally sponsored health insurance plan. When considering dates of retirement, keep in Check with your employer to find out in which plan you are enrolled. The  guidelines for teachers to TypeofPayment Summary: SingleͲLife/Survivor: continue health insurance Plan: with the state-sponsored Paystheretireethemaximumamount;benefit plan are: Regular/Maximum SingleͲLife ceasesuponretiree’sdeath 1) 20 or more total Paystheretireetheregular/maximumamountplusa years of employment as a SocialSecurity percentageoftheage62SocialSecurityamount teacher with an employer SingleͲLife Leveling throughage62.Uponreaching62,thebenefitis participating in the permanentlyreduced. insurance plan with at Paystheretireeapermanentlyreducedbenefitand least one year insurance OptionI providesthebeneficiary100%oftheretiree’sbenefit Survivor coverage under the state uponhis/herdeath teacher plan immediately prior to termination as a Paystheretireeapermanentlyreducedbenefitand teacher; the period of time OptionII providesthebeneficiary50%oftheretiree’sbenefit Survivor between termination and uponhis/herdeath date of retirement must be Paystheretireeareducedbenefitandprovidesthe less than five years, or beneficiary100%oftheretiree’sbenefituponhis/her 2) 10, but less than 20, OptionIII death.IfthebeneficiarypreͲdeceasestheretiree,the Survivor total years of employment retiree’sbenefitreverts,or“popsup,”tothe as a teacher with an regular/maximumamount. employer participating Paystheretireeareducedbenefitandprovidesthe in the insurance plan beneficiary50%oftheretiree’sbenefituponhis/her with three consecutive OptionIV death.IfthebeneficiarypreͲdeceasestheretiree,the Survivor years of insurance retiree’sbenefitreverts,or“popsup,”tothe coverage in the state regular/maximumamount. teacher plan immediately   

mind that in order to qualify for the annual costof-living adjustment (COLA), a member must be retired 12 months prior to July 1. This means that your last paid day of work or leave must be June 30 or before to be eligible for the next COLA. For anyone with a date of retirement July 2 or later, he or she will not be awarded a COLA for nearly TCRSCOLAHistory July1,2006










allows a retired employee to return to a TCRScovered employer for up to 120 full-time days within a calendar year (there are salary restrictions within the temporary employment guidelines). In order to qualify for temporary employment, a retiree must wait 60 days (unless waived by the superintendent) before returning to work. A temporary employment report needs to be signed by your school system and sent to TCRS prior to returning to work. If you plan to return to work for an employer that is not covered by TCRS, there are no limits, and you do not need to file any paperwork with TCRS. For more information, including contact information, visit the TCRS website at

of retirement letter, you have 60 days to change your payment plan. If you do not correspond with TCRS to change your payment plan during this period, the option cannot be changed at a later date. Benefit payments are made to retirees on the last working day of the month for that month. Therefore, if you were to retire May 25, you would receive a pro-rated payment on May 31 for seven days (provided your paperwork has been filed with the TCRS office in advance). Typically, there are two items that will be deducted from your retired payroll check: income taxes and medical insurance (if you have chosen to continue medical insurance coverage). Any other deductions must be requested in writing to the TCRS payroll office. After retirement, there are multiple returnto-work provisions. The most popular of these is temporary employment. Temporary employment

Amanda Staggs is a former TEA staffer who currently works at the TCRS.

ou Need to Know Now 24 months. The COLA typically ranges from 1-3 percent and is based upon the change in consumer price index. (The COLA provision is optional for local governments. ) There may also be other dates within your specific school system or within your collective bargaining agreement that allow you to qualify for incentives or bonuses. Be sure to check with your school system regarding these provisions. Once you have chosen a date to retire and selected the right payment plan for yourself, it is important to send your paperwork to TCRS in a timely manner. TCRS suggests you send in your paperwork 60-90 days before your actual retirement date. Because the majority of teachers file for retirement at the end of the school year, March through July is considered peak season. Therefore, if you plan to retire at the end of the school year, it is best to send your paperwork into TCRS three months in advance. Keep in mind that your school system must complete a portion of the retirement application, so it is extremely important to have your school system complete their portion before sending it to TCRS. There are a few things you need to be aware of once you have filed your paperwork. First, you will receive an acknowledgment letter shortly after the TCRS office receives your retirement application. Next, you will receive a notice of retirement letter (typically during the month you retire). This notification gives you the option to change the payment plan you initially selected when you filed your application. Once you’ve received the notice

SampleCalculationofServiceRetirement(noreductions): BaseBenefitFormula: Step1:




























*Step2ofthebenefitformulaisonlyapplicabletothoseindividualswhohaveanAFCabovetheaverageoftheSocial Securitywagebase,orSSIL(currently$59,400). **The5%BIP(benefitimprovement)isoptionalforlocalgovernments  Example(assumesAFCisbelowSSIL,thereforeStep2isnotapplicable) Assumptions
































8  November 2011

Bio and Photo Deadline for Candidates: January 2, 2012

TEA Announces NEA RA State Delegate Nomination Procedures TEA announces procedures for nominating and electing state delegates to the 2012 National Education Association Representative Assembly in Washington, DC, June 30-July 5, 2012. Nominees may submit pictures and biographical material for publication in the February issue of teach. (See Biographical Information in the third column.) TEA urges minority educators to apply for delegate positions. TEA seeks to have at least 17 percent minority representation in its delegation. The association regularly exceeds this amount. Nomination/election procedures Category 1 Two delegates shall be elected from each of the 15 TEA Board districts. The delegates in each district must be classroom teachers, education support professionals or persons who serve in other non-supervisory positions. The state nominating committee has submitted the following names: District 1: Leisa Lusk; District 2: Gera Summerford, Melinda Reese; District 3: Karen Starr; District 4: Tanya T. Coats, Paula Hancock; District 5: Diane Lillard, Sandy Smith; District 6: Beth Brown; District 7: Bonnie Dixon; District 8: Kawanda Braxton; District 9: Candra Clariette, Stephen Henry, Erick Huth; District 10: Christine Denton, Guy Stanley, Alzenia Walls; District 11: Melanie Buchanan; District 12: Debbie D’Angelo; District 13: Ernestine King, Diccie Smith; District 14: LaVerne Dickerson, Sarah Kennedy-Harper; District 15: Stephanie Fitzgerald. Additional nominations shall be by an affiliated local association or upon petition of 50 NEA members from the respective board district. Voting for delegates from each board district shall be restricted to the NEA members employed in that district. Category 2 Three supervisor/administrator/ retired NEA life member delegates shall be elected in a statewide vote. The state nominating committee has submitted the names of Barbara Gray, Charles Green, Johnny Henry and Margaret Thompson. Additional nominations shall be by an affiliated local association or upon petition of 50 NEA members. Definitions An NEA member is one who on Jan. 15 is an active, education support professional or retired NEA life member. An active member is any person who is engaged in, or on a limited leave of absence from, professional education work or who is serving as an executive

officer of the association. Active members shall hold or shall be eligible to hold a baccalaureate or higher degree or the regular teaching, vocational or technical certificates required by their employment. Active membership is limited to persons who support the principles and goals of the association and maintain membership in the local and state affiliates where eligible. An education support professional member is any employee of a school district, college or university or other institution devoted primarily to educational work who is not eligible for active membership. A classroom teacher is any person who is certified, where required, and a major part of whose time is spent in direct contact with students or who performs allied work which results in placement of the person on a local salary schedule for teachers. A supervisor and administrator is any person who has continuing authority to hire, evaluate, transfer, discipline, dismiss or otherwise direct employees or to recommend officially any of these actions. A retired NEA life member is a retired NEA life member who holds membership in the Tennessee Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). General Information Nominations Nominations shall be made by a letter signed by a local association president and secretary reflecting the name of their association’s nominee or by a separate petition for each nominee containing 50 legible signatures of NEA members and the local association to which they belong. It is suggested that each petition include a few extra signatures in the event a signature is challenged or is illegible. Each petition shall carry the name, address, Social Security number and phone numbers (school and home) of the nominee, along with the name of the local association of which he/she is a member and the category for which he/she is being nominated. Nominees shall be added to the proper category in the order in which nominations are received at the TEA headquarters. For retired NEA life members to be eligible to be a state delegate, they must be a member of the Tennessee Retired Teachers Association. In lieu of submitting nominations, the Board of Directors may function as a nominating committee for the purpose of nominating board members.

Elections The appropriate number of nominees receiving the largest number of votes in their respective categories shall be declared delegates. If the number of nominees for delegate positions is equal to or less than the number of positions to be filled, elections shall be waived, and the nominees declared elected to the delegate positions in general.

of delegates nominated. Any additional adjustments will be made in the board districts whose turn it is according to the following rotation plan.

Successor delegates Successor delegates shall be chosen in the order of the number of votes received by those nominees within the appropriate category and district who were not elected delegates. Successor delegates outside districts in which fewer district delegates are elected than called for in this plan shall be assigned as delegates in those districts in the order of the number of votes received.

Order Board District number 1........................................District 9 2........................................District 8 3........................................District 7 4........................................District 6 5........................................District 5 6........................................District 4 7........................................District 3 8........................................District 2 9........................................District 1 10.....................................District 15 11.....................................District 14 12.....................................District 13 13.....................................District 12 14.....................................District 11 15.....................................District 10

Deadline for nominations All nominations must be received at TEA Headquarters, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201-1099 by Jan. 2, 2012.

The TEA Executive Director is responsible for maintaining the rotation records for use in determining which board district is in line for delegate adjustment when necessary.

Biographical information All nominees are eligible to have condensed biographical data printed in the Feb. teach. The deadline for receiving biographical materials is Jan. 2, 2012. Biographical information should contain no more than 75 words. A photograph may also be submitted. Information should be typed double-spaced with verbs, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions omitted. No abbreviations are acceptable except TEA, NEA and the abbreviation of the nominee’s local association. (Upon request, TEA will provide a form for listing biographical information.)

Expenses TEA provides expenses for delegates according to policies adopted by the TEA Board of Directors and TEA Representative Assembly.

Total number of delegates This plan is based on a state allocation of 46 delegates; three nonteacher (supervisor/administrator/retired NEA life member) and 43 non-supervisory (classroom teacher/education support professionals or persons who serve in other non-supervisory positions). If membership reports indicate that the number of non-teacher delegates must be revised, the number will be adjusted up or down, as appropriate. If either membership figures or nonteacher delegate allocation requires that the number of non-supervisory delegates be revised, an adjustment will be made by adding or deleting a delegate position for as many board districts as necessary to achieve the proper allocation of delegates. Such adjustments will be made first in any board district not having its full allocation

Ballots Ballots shall be mailed to each local association president prior to March 1. Each association shall distribute the ballots to the NEA members of that association. Marked ballots shall be collected and either counted by the local association or sent to the TEA for tabulation. The local association’s tabulation of the votes cast by its NEA members or the untabulated ballots must be received at TEA headquarters no later than April 10. Modification of procedure The TEA President and Executive Director are authorized temporarily to modify this procedure in order to comply with NEA requirements if time does not permit the suggested changes to be considered at the next regular board meeting. Clustering of delegates The TEA Board of Directors has established the following cluster procedures for the election of nonteacher delegates, NEA-Retired delegates and delegates from small associations (fewer than 75 members) to the NEA Representative Assembly. (Continued on page 10) 9

NEA-Retired delegates Non-teacher delegates Timeline for Electing Delegates A non-teacher shall is any person who has continuing Allocation of NEA-Retired delegates is based The timeline for the allocation and election of authority to hire, transfer, discipline, dismiss or on NEA-R membership as of January 15. Only NEA-R delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly in otherwise direct employees or to recommend officially members are eligible to nominate or serve as delegates. Washington, DC, June 30-July 5, 2012: any of these actions. A statewide cluster of non-teacher A letter shall be mailed to all NEA-R members no later January 2 — Deadline for receiving state delegate members shall be established. The cluster shall be than December 15 inviting them to submit a nomination nominations (except student members), candidates’ achieved by combining the number of non-teacher for the allocated position(s). The nomination shall photographs and biographical information for members of each eligible local association (those with contain the name, address, phone number, and social publication in teach. fewer than 10 local delegates), according to the following security number of the nominee as well as the name and January 15 — Date on which the number of NEA guidelines: address of the NEA-R member making the nomination. delegates will be established based on the number of The number of non-teacher members shall be Nominations must be postmarked no later than membership applications on file with NEA. subtracted from the total local association membership January 2. February 15 — NEA sends report forms containing for purposes of local delegate allocation determination. delegate allocations based on membership figures as Nominees are placed on the ballot in the order in The number of non-teacher members will not be of January 15 (March 15 for student members) to all which nominations are received at the Tennessee Retired subtracted from local association membership totals affiliates. Teachers Association office, 801 2nd Avenue North, March 1 — Latest date to mail state ballots to if it is determined, based on membership as of Jan. 15, Nashville, TN 37201-1099. presidents for distribution to members. (Ballots will that the subtraction would cause the allocation of local Ballots shall be mailed to each NEA-R member prior be mailed earlier if possible.) Instructions for voting delegates to decrease. This provision may be waived if to March 1. Marked ballots must be received by the TRTA procedures are also mailed. said local association does not send its full allocation of no later than April 10. If the number of nominees for April 10 — Local affiliates send local delegate and delegates. delegate positions is equal to or less than the number of successor delegate report forms to TEA office. Non-teacher members included in the cluster will positions to be filled, elections shall be waived and the May 15 — Deadline for TEA to certify state election not be allowed to vote in the election of their local nominees declared elected to the delegate positions. results to NEA and deadline for forwarding to NEA association delegates; however, they will be eligible The appropriate number of nominees receiving the the delegate report forms for all elected local and to vote in the election for state delegates to the NEA state delegates and successor delegates to the NEA largest number of votes shall be declared delegates. Representative Assembly. Representative Assembly. Successor delegates are chosen in the order of the A letter shall be sent to local association presidents May 15 — Deadline for filing with NEA, report forms number of votes received by those nominees who were informing them of the statewide cluster. A form will be for delegates and successor delegates representing not elected delegates. included with the letter which is to be returned if a local student, higher education, retired, and educational The TRTA is responsible for compiling election association does not desire to participate. The deadline support members. results and notifying NEA-R delegates of their election. June 1 — Based on review of delegate report forms for returning the form is January 2. The TRTA and TEA are not be responsible for any submitted by May 15, NEA Credentials Committee The TEA Board of Directors serves as a nominating expenses of NEA-R delegates. issues credentials or notifies affiliates of reason for committee for the statewide cluster of non-teacher withholding credentials. Small association delegates NEA delegates in the same manner that it does for NEA June 5 — NEA sends credentials and registration A letter will be sent to each local education state delegates. Subsequent to the completion of the packets to delegates. association whose membership on January 15 (according above process, nomination shall be by an affiliated local to NEA membership records) contains fewer than 76 association or upon petition of 50 NEA members. members. This letter will list the names, addresses and Nominations shall be received at the TEA office after phone numbers of the presidents of these local associations as well as the number of Dec. 1, but no later than January 2. Nominees are placed on the ballot in the order in which nominations are received at members in each association. the TEA headquarters. The number of non-teacher delegates to be elected shall be based A local education association desiring to send a delegate initiates the cluster upon one delegate for each 150 non-teachers in the cluster. process by contacting the president of one or more local associations listed whose Ballots shall be mailed to each non-teacher member in the cluster prior to March membership, when added to that of the local association initiating the cluster, totals at 1. Marked ballots must be received at TEA headquarters no later than April 10. If least 76. the number of nominees for delegate positions is equal to or less than the number of Local associations desiring to cluster will be responsible for making their own positions to be filled, elections shall be waived and the nominees declared elected as arrangements regarding nominations, elections and finances. NEA’s requirements for delegates. election of delegates, which is mailed to local association presidents in October of each The appropriate number of nominees receiving the largest number of votes shall year, applies to clustered delegates. be declared delegates. The TEA Executive Director is responsible for compiling election TEA shall be provided the names of the delegates and the local associations involved results and notifying non-teacher delegates of their election. in the cluster when the selection is made and will in turn file the appropriate form with Successor non-teacher delegates are chosen in the order of the number of votes NEA. Such form must be submitted to TEA no later than April 10. received by those nominees who were not elected delegates. The TEA is not responsible Expenses of delegates elected through this cluster procedure shall be borne by the for any expenses of the clustered non-teacher NEA delegates, unless the person is a local associations involved in the cluster or by the clustered delegate. member of the TEA Board of Directors when elected. 10  November 2011


By Carol K. Schmoock hile most Tennessee teachers received an orientation to the new evaluation system at the start of school this year, over 60 percent also report they received no additional training after the initial orientation. For most teachers, the initial orientation lasted two or more hours and was conducted on a school-wide basis by the building principal. This data comes from a statewide online survey conducted during the first weeks of the school year by the Tennessee Education Association. Almost 4,000 teachers and administrators from 126 school districts completed the evaluation survey, which was conducted between August 22 and September 30, 2011. While 83 percent of the survey respondents indicate they are being evaluated under the state model, TEAM, another 11 percent indicated they didn’t know which of the four approved models was being used to evaluate them. With a best practices portal available for teachers and evaluators to use as a resource in systems utilizing the TEAM evaluation model, only 45 percent of survey completers indicated they’d been told about the portal during the first weeks of school. Of those, almost 84 percent had not yet visited the portal. Many comments indicated that teachers had not yet been granted access to the portal even though their first observations had been scheduled or completed.

Teachers Report Evaluation Experiences The question about the meeting to discuss the 15% component of the evaluation is self-explanatory. Note the deadline for this meeting was moved from October 1st to November 1st.

Frustrations prevail as school systems enter uncharted territory Many report inconsistencies; turning from “better” to “bitter” teachers for the 15 percent student achievement component: “We were just told about the portal even though many State assessment data — 56% of us have already gone through our first round of School-wide value-added composite—19 % observation,” reported one teacher. “We didn’t get to Graduation rate — 4 % see it before we were evaluated.” ACT/SAT — 1 % “A few teachers in our school had both a Other — 18 % 15-minute planning observation and a full Many respondents commented that they were lesson-length observation in the second week unaware of or uncertain about the 15 percent of school. This was done without having access component. One educator reported, “When to the portal so we could watch videos to help I asked about the 15 percent portion of the us learn before our observations,” noted another evaluation and how much input the teacher was educator. going to have (i.e., choice by teacher, by system or Asked who the certified observers were for by principal?), I was told the teacher would have little evaluation purposes in their school, almost 95 percent choice. She said it was going to be decided by the system, identified principals as observers in their schools. In then the principal, and then the teacher would addition, 40 percent identified central office need to agree.” By November 1, teachers and principals were to select, in staff and 32 percent “other building level staff” as collaboration with their evaluators, the student achievement Over 90 percent of those completing the certified observers. Assistant principals and vice measure to be used for 15 percent of their evaluations. If the two survey hold a professional license, which means principals were most frequently identified as “other parties don’t agree, the evaluator determines the measure. At the they will have four observations this year under observers.” Only four percent indicated they didn’t time they completed the survey, less than 18 percent reported the new evaluation policy. While 48 percent of know who the observers were in their building. they’d had a meeting scheduled with their evaluator to discuss respondents teach a grade or subject for which the 15 percent student achievement measure. Less than 18 percent indicated that a meeting there is a state assessment, at the time of the had been scheduled with their principal to identify survey, teachers had not yet received their the 15 percent student achievement component that would be used in their teacher-effect data for the last school year. Clearly, the state department of evaluation. Of those who reported the 15 percent decision had been made, just 29 education’s efforts to deliver this data earlier in the year must be successful if percent indicated they and their evaluator had agreed on the chosen measure. teachers are to receive their final evaluation scores based on current year data Survey respondents reported the following measures were most often selected

Look for the next issue of teach in January 2012


recreated to be a positive experience and one that will benefit the children in our public schools, not hurt them because their teacher became so busy with new requirements to complete for adults that there was no time left to spend working effectively with the children.” “I answer this as a principal... The volume of observations (four or six observations of every teacher every year) is absolutely killing us.” “I don’t mind being held accountable. Everyone should be. But this system should be evaluated and quickly changed before many good teachers, like myself, decide to retire.” “This new evaluation system is putting a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety on almost every teacher in the building. Both veteran teachers and new teachers are concerned with all of the ‘unknowns.’ Our administrators Of those reporting that the 15 percent student achievement here a meeting has been held, 56.3% have selected the state assessment data are stressed. No one is happy. I am seriously rethinking my measure had been chosen, only 29 percent indicated they and be the 15% component. their evaluator agreed on the chosen measure. career choice after seven years on a job I used to love.” TEA’s evaluation surveys are intended to document Evaluation Experiences, continued from p. 11. both problems and successes with the various approved before a new school year begins. evaluation models. Survey data will be shared with the In addition to the numerical data, over 2,000 survey commissioner of education, State Board of Education respondents shared comments reflecting their frustrations members, legislators and other policy makers as TEA with the system. Among the commonly identified concerns addresses members’ concerns with the evaluation system. are: inconsistency among schools and among observers even TEA has just launched a second evaluation survey within the same school, the extensive time teachers are specifically for principals and other administrators required to spend on lesson planning rather than teaching responsible for implementing the new evaluation system. students, being told that teachers shouldn’t expect to score This survey is open to all administrators (whether or not above a “three” on the five-point scale, inappropriateness they are TEA members) until November 18. of the rubric for many teachers, the use of school-wide The survey can be accessed from the home page at composite data as a proxy for individual growth data for teachers without TVAAS scores, and the stress the system is A follow-up online survey for teachers will explore causing both teachers and principals. additional evaluation issues—such as lesson planning, Typical comments from the survey include: observations and scoring. It is planned for later this month. “We are still very unclear about what is expected in Carol K. Schmoock is TEA assistant executive director for our lesson plans, and it varies across our district. Not all program services. principals are requiring the same components... I keep hearing that this new model is supposed to make me a better Make a difference. Email your evaluation teacher, but it is only making me a bitter teacher.” story to “This entire process needs to be reconsidered and

TEA Calendar of Events

November 2011 November 5 November 11 November 13-19 November 16 November 24

New Teacher Conference, TEA Building Veterans Day American Education Week ESP Day Thanksgiving

December 2011 December 25


January 2012 January 1 January 2 January 15 January 16

New Year’s Day Deadline for submitting nominations for NEA state, administrator, STEA, and retired delegates Date membership count is used to establish NEA delegate allocation Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Need information, services? Mitchell Johnson Assistant Executive Director for Affiliate Services Ronny Clemmons & Donna Cotner Managers of UniServ

Tennessee Education Association, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201-1099 (615) 242-8392, (800) 342-8367, FAX (615) 259-4581

UniServ Coordinators

District 1 — Harry Farthing, P.O. Box 298, Elizabethton, TN 37644; phone: (423)262-8035, fax: (423)2628053; Assns: Carter, Hancock, Hawkins, Rogersville, Johnson, Sullivan, Bristol, Kingsport, Northeast State C.C. District 2 — Jennifer Gaby, P.O. Box 70, Afton, TN 37616; (423)234-0700, fax: (423)234-0708; Assns: Cocke, Newport, Elizabethton, Greene, Greeneville, Unicoi, Washington, Johnson City, ETSU. District 3 — Tina Parlier, P.O. Box 74, Corryton, TN 37721; (865)688-1175, fax: (865)688-5188; Assns: Claiborne, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Sevier, Union, Walter State C.C. District 4 — Jon White, Knox County Education Association, 2411 Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917-8289; (865)522-9793, fax: (865)522-9866; Assns: Knox, UT-Knoxville, Pellisippi State C.C., TSD. District 5— Jason White, Assns: Anderson, Clinton, Oak Ridge, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Oneida, TSD, York Institute District 6 — Reba Luttrell, 503 Cardinal St., Maryville, TN 37803; phone/ fax: (865)983-8640; Assns: Blount, Alcoa, Maryville, Monroe, Sweetwater, Loudon, Lenoir City, Roane, Roane State C.C. District 7 — Jim Jordan, P.O. Box 4878, Cleveland, TN 37320; phone/fax: (423)472-3315; Assns: Bledsoe, Bradley, Cleveland, McMinn, Athens, Etowah, Meigs, Polk, Rhea-Dayton, Cleveland State C.C. District 8 — Theresa Turner, 4655 Shallowford Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37411; (423)485-9535, fax: (423)485-9512; Assns: Hamilton County, Chattanooga State C.C., UT-Chattanooga, Department of Higher Ed. District 9 — Jeff Garrett, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201; (615)242-8392, ext. 228, or (800)342-8367; Assns: Coffee, Manchester, Tullahoma, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren, White, Warren. District 10 — Shannon Bain, 1001 Rhett Place, Lebanon, TN 37087; phone: (615)547-7769, fax: (615)547-7879; Assns: Clay, DeKalb, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Trousdale, TTU. District 11 — Arthur Patterson, 101 Copperas Court, Murfreesboro, TN 37128; phone: (615)907-9912, fax: (615) 907-5490; Assns: Cannon, Sumner, Wilson, Lebanon S.S.D., Volunteer State C.C. District 12 — Susan Young, P.O. Box 422, Madison, TN 37116-0422; phone/ fax: (615)865-9700; Assns: Cheatham, Rutherford, Murfreesboro, MTSU, TSB, TN Department of Education District 13 — Forestine Cole, Ralph Smith, Metro Nashville, 531 Fairground Court, Nashville, TN 37211; (615)726-1499, fax: (615)726-2501; Assns: Metro Nashville, Nashville State C.C., TSU, Department of Higher Education District 14 — Rhonda Thompson, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201; (615)242-8392, ext. 321, or (800)342-8367; Assns: Clarksville-Montgomery, Robertson, APSU District 15 — Miley Durham, P.O. Box 10, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464; phone/fax: (931)766-7874; Assns: Bedford, Giles, Lawrence, Lincoln, Fayetteville, Marshall, Moore, Motlow State C.C. District 16 — Jackie Pope, 2326 Valley Grove Dr., Murfreesboro, TN 37128; (615) 898-1060, fax: (615) 898-1099; Assns: Lewis, Maury, Williamson, Franklin S.S.D. District 17 — Cheryl Richardson Bradley, 801 Second Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201; (615)242-8392, ext. 233, or (800)342-8367; Assns: Decatur, Dickson, Hardin, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Perry, Wayne District 18 — Maria Uffelman, P.O. Box 99, Cumberland City, TN 37050; phone/fax: (931)8273333; Assns: Benton, Carroll (West Carroll) Central, Clarksburg, Huntingdon, McKenzie, Gibson, Bradford, Humboldt, Milan, Trenton, Henry, Paris, Stewart, Weakley, UT-Martin, FTA District 19— Lorrie Butler, P.O. Box 387, Henderson, TN 38340; (731)9894860, fax: (731)989-9254; Assns: Chester, Hardeman, Henderson, Lexington, Jackson-Madison, McNairy, Jackson State C.C. District 20 — Karla Carpenter, P.O. Box 177, Brunswick, TN 38014; (901)590-2543, fax: (901)382-1433; Assns: Crockett, Dyer, Dyersburg, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion, Union City, Tipton, Dyersburg State C.C. District 21 — Zandra Foster, 3897 Homewood Cove, Memphis, TN 38128; phone/fax: (901)377-9472; Assns: Fayette, Shelby, Southwest Tenn. C.C., University of Memphis. District 22/MEA — Ken Foster, Executive Director; MEA UniServ Directors: Marilyn Baker, Susanne Jackson, Terri Jones, Tom Marchand, Herman Sawyer, MEA, 126 South Flicker Street, Memphis, TN 38104; (901)454-0966, fax: (901)454-9979; Assn: Memphis. 12

November 2011

teach November 2011  

Feeling oppressed by the teacher evaluation mess? Tired of inaction among your elected officials? Political action is the answer, says lifel...

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