Teacher group reacts to Governor's special session

Posted at 10:57 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 00:00:48-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With the Governor’s special legislative session called to order, the focus is on Tennessee’s students, with a series of requests from Governor Bill Lee, but teachers with the Tennessee Education Association say more needs to be done.

"Funding teacher pay has been wholly inadequate for years, so the Governor and the general assembly have an obligation in the special session to make historic investment in public education," said Beth Brown, President of the Tennessee Education Association.

Read More: Gov. Lee announces legislation for learning loss intervention for Tenn. students

One of Lee’s requests: a 4 percent raise for teachers -- something that didn’t happen last year because of COVID spending cuts.

But the TEA says the state has already recorded surplus money this year, which should be used to do more for teachers.

"There is definitely the funding available to provide much more than what the governor is suggesting with his bill for 2% now and 2% starting in the next academic year," Brown said.

And the TEA says the impacts of Tennessee teacher pay are real, with experienced teachers leaving the profession.

"They are burned out," Brown said. "What we’re hearing is people are leaving the profession and retiring soon as possible."

Read More: Lee calls special session to address education issues