Like a lot of labor unions these days, the TN Education Association is desperately trying to redefine itself so that it can remain relevant to its members. That task is especially important for the TEA, who some estimate have lost as many as 25,000 members (and their dues) over the last few years. To deal with the bleeding, staff has been slashed, budgets reduced, but with such cuts their influence to affect events important to teachers has noticeably waned.
So it has come as quite a surprise to teachers across the state that the TEA has ignored a singular opportunity to stand up for the union’s remaining members. The TEA has refused to call for the resignation of the one person who is the most disliked individual in public education in Tennessee today – education commissioner Kevin Huffman.
It has been 77 days since RTP tried to shame the TEA into doing the right thing for teachers and join the growing chorus of people wanting Huffman’s head on a platter. But all teachers have heard from the TEA is the sound of crickets.
In their panic to be relevant, the TEA leadership made a blatant gambit to “play ball” with the Republicans, especially Gov. Haslam and his administration (the same guy who promised a pay increase for teachers, then reneged and spent the money shoving Common Core and charter schools down teachers’ throats). Calling for Huffman’s ouster would have been a good way to stand with teachers. But it’s hard to stand up for teachers when you are on your knees kissing ass.
People are fond of saying ‘it’s never too late,” but in the case of the TEA’s deafening silence on Huffman’s tenure – it’s too late. The TEA has negligently missed the opportunity to eliminate the one person in state government who has made teachers’ lives so miserable.
Tomorrow is Day No. 78