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Publisher’s Position: Some Things that the Legislature Needs to Fix

By Steve Hunley

Despite some claims to the contrary, there are some things the Tennessee General Assembly needs to fix.

Our superintendent of schools has loudly proclaimed his support for the evaluation system of teachers, which was enacted in Nashville.  Frankly, Dr. Jim McIntyre’s support for the new evaluation system is less because he thinks it’s wonderful than a sycophantic desire to succeed Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman.

The new system has any number of flaws, none of which McIntyre or most legislators seem to notice or care about.  Some educators are not even evaluated by someone with experience in their own field. Another thing that doesn’t seem fair to me is that new teachers may be fired by the school system without having to give any reason. And to make matters worse, they can’t reapply for two years.

While they’re at it, the Republican legislature should change the law to allow for an elected superintendent.

The legislature should also make some changes in the “tort reform” enacted sometime ago.  That same reform has decimated some local offices, which are no longer able to effectively collect the necessary fees to operate properly.  For instance, anyone can walk in off the street and ask for an order of protection and claim to be indigent and get it.  What office ever had a 400% increase in the number of transactions it had to perform, do it with the same number of employees and not be able to charge anything for it?  The clerk’s offices in Knox County have operated on a fee basis and paid their own way for years and nobody can think of any other offices in county government that do that.

The tort reform had a devastating impact on some of our local offices and the legislature should go back and fix the problem.  Litigation in localities should be a user tax, not paid for by the general taxpayers.

The legislature should get down to the business of governing without the Republican super majority wasting its time and our tax dollars to try and regulate everyone’s personal lives.

The Republican-controlled legislature so far doesn’t have as much to brag about as it thinks it does. If they are really serious about genuine reforms,  they need to get to work and fix the problems that were created when the republicans didn’t have the majority of votes, much less the super majority that they enjoy now.

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