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Bills would end merit pay, allow prayer in schools

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Bills introduced last week in both the state House of Representatives and Senate would bring an end to merit pay if passed. 

The Educator Response and Accountability Act (H.B. 2263, S.B. 2047), co-sponsored by both Rep. Debra Moody (R-Covington) and Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), suggests the state board of education's policy to license teachers based on student performance undermines "the sacrifice and commitment of public school teachers of the state."

The bill would amend T.C.A. 49-1-3, ending the adoption of any rule, regulation, policy or guideline that advances or penalizes educations on the basis of standardized test scores or statistics related to such. 

It also proposes changes to the system by which complaints can be made about educators for professional errors or misconduct. 

Bringing prayer back to schools

Additionally, both legislators are co-sponsoring bills that would allow prayer in schools. 

As proposed, the "Religious Views Antidiscrimination Act" would ensure that a student's voluntary expression of religious viewpoints would not be discriminated against and would be treated as if a secular viewpoint was being shared. 

The bill would also allow for administrators to create a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak and would permit students to express their religious beliefs in homework, artwork and written and oral assignments. 

Under this legislation, students would also be permitted to organize prayer groups and religious clubs and gatherings to the same extent that other extracurricular activities are organized. 

Reimbursement for CCSS

Reimbursement for costs of Common Core implementation and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments may soon be a reality. 

H.B. 2290 was introduced last week and, if passed, would allow school systems to be reimbursed for the cost of computer hardware and software, textbooks, training, travel and more associated with the implementation of new nationwide standards. 

These bills are currently assigned to the Education Subcommittee and could become law as early as July 1. 

For more information about proposed changes in education, see capitol.tn.gov. 


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