While we would like to believe that they truly want to hear what is going on in our children's schools, the secrecy of these meetings, the exclusion of elected school board members, and the pre-screening of those selected to attend prove otherwise.
Some brave teachers decided to not wait for an invitation to be heard. They staged a Press Conference 30 minutes before one of the Governor's closed meetings! A local school board member and Rep. Matthew Hill also spoke at the press conference, which was held in the parking lot of the same building the Governor's private meeting was taking place. Rep. Matthew Hill's closing comment was, "This is what grassroots looks like!" pointing at all of those gathered in the hot Tennessee sun to have their voices heard. Rep. Van Huss and Rep. Shipley were also present to show support to teachers, students, and public schools.
This is a statement released to the media by one of the teachers at the Press Conference:
Teachers are here today to once again express their disappointment in this administration's lack of transparency and unwillingness to have an open, authentic dialogue. Teachers are still trying to wade through the lack of transparency in the wake of the TCAP debacle only 2 months ago. Now- a few weeks prior to state primary elections and a couple months prior to the governor's own election- Gov Haslam and Commissioner Huffman are traveling across TN conducting short, secret, and selective meetings. To be the "Fastest Improving State," all stakeholders, teachers, parents, and school board members need to be able to come together and work collaboratively, transparently, and publicly to produce the best education possible for our students. A true and reasonable voice, elected by the majority of teachers, should be the voice representing teachers not an appointed one or one that simply echoes back a scripted agenda. Teachers, by nature, are relationship builders. We build true and lasting relationships with OUR students, OUR parents, and OUR school districts. Teachers are able to build these relationships by listening and communicating with ALL vested stakeholders. We need leaders in TN that are willing to do the same. We call upon Gov Haslam and Commissioner Huffman to open the school doors in TN and have an open, authentic dialogue about the future of public education in TN. We are waiting......
Click HERE and HERE to see news coverage of the event