Aug 2

TEA Vigilant As New Evaluation System Evolves

2010 at 11:40 am posted by Jeff Ferrell

While many teachers across Tennessee took a well-deserved break from the classroom routine during the hot summer of 2010, Tennessee’s 15-member Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee continued to meet regularly—in person and via conference call—to discuss, consider options and make decisions about the new teacher and principal evaluation system required by the Tennessee First to the Top Act.

Every time TEAC met, TEA members on TEAC participated in the deliberations and TEA staff members were on hand to offer information and support.  In addition, the TEA president and TEA staff consulted throughout the summer with TEA members on TEAC, the Commissioner of Education and staff from the Governor’s office, as well as the Education First consultants facilitating TEAC’s work.
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Jul 23

TEA Saves Jobs, Prevents Cuts to Teacher Salaries

2010 at 9:10 pm posted by Jeff Ferrell

Due to the severe recession, it is estimated that as many as 100,000 to 300,000 teachers nationally may lose their jobs as the 2010-2011 school year begins. But—due to TEA’s lobbying—the Tennessee General Assembly did not make cuts to personnel funded through the Basic Education Program (BEP). The bottom line is that many teachers will retain their positions because TEA was diligent in protecting BEP funding.

In addition, if some legislators had their way, thousands of current teachers could have lost their career ladder supplements. A very serious proposal would have funded career ladder supplements on a non-recurring basis. This means the state would have to “find” $35 million to keep career ladder supplements funded. Here’s the approximate number of career ladder teachers who would have been affected: Career Level I—26,166; Career Level II—1,735; Career Level III—2,717.

Are you one of these teachers? Then TEA—your Association—was the key to stopping a major cut to your personal income!

Jul 23

TEA Representative Assembly Delegates Elect New Leaders

2010 at 9:09 pm posted by Jeff Ferrell

Gera Summerford, a math teacher at Gatlinburg Pittman High School in Sevier County, was elected president of the 55,000-member Tennessee Education Association (TEA) at the organization’s annual meeting June 4-5 in Nashville. Barbara Gray, assistant principal at Northhaven Elementary School in Shelby County, was elected TEA vice president in a three-way race for that position. Summerford and Gray assumed their two-year terms as leaders of the state’s largest professional organization July 1, 2010.

Oct 7

Big NEA Victories

2008 at 9:15 am posted by Bryan Massengale

House Resolution 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, contained a number of provisions long-advocated by NEA and our affiliates. The Senate also passed the bill and President Bush immediately signed it into law.

This is a major victory for NEA, as the bill contains a number of pro-children and education provisions hard to secure:

  • Reauthorizing and funding the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. This provision helps rural schools in 42 states facing curtailment of essential educational services. Some schools had already shut down entirely for lack of funding.
  • Maintaining the educator tax deduction for instructional materials and classroom supplies. On average, teachers spend $1752 annually out-of-pocket for classroom supplies.
  • Continuing Qualified Zone Academy Bonds for school modernization. This program will help meet the pressing needs of repair and installation of 21st century technology in schools in disadvantaged urban and rural communities.
  • Expanding the Child Tax Credit.
  • Providing mental health parity. One in five Americans — children as well as adults — suffers from a mental or brain-based illness according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Every child deserves the chance for a healthy start in life.
Oct 6

TCRS System on Firm Ground

2008 at 3:07 pm posted by Bryan Massengale

As a result of the economic roller coaster over the past few days, TEA has received several inquiries regarding the actuarial soundness of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS).  You might find the text of a letter from Jill Bachus, TCRS director, to be informative and reassuring.  The November issues of teach will carry additional information provided by the state treasurer office.


TO:TCRS Board of Trustees

FROM: Jill Bachus

DATE: September 26, 2008

SUBJECT:  Recent Investment Market Activity and the Retirement System

The financial marketplace has been exhibiting a high degree of volatility for several months, mainly due to issues related to the mortgage industry.  Several of you have expressed concern or raised questions about the outlook and impact on the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS).  Some board members have also received questions from retirees and members of the system.

First and foremost, retirees and members have no risk of losing benefits as a result of investment market fluctuations.  Benefits are defined by law and are not subject to change when the system experiences investment gains or losses.  TCRS pre-funds its liabilities and is in the enviable position of being over 95% funded.  This is due to the leadership of the General Assembly, the Governor, and the TCRS Board of Trustees.  Since 1975 every Governor has budgeted and every General Assembly has appropriated sufficient money to fund the actuarial requirements set by the board.

TCRS has assets totaling more than $30 billion and therefore has sufficient funds to pay the benefits earned by our 100,000 retirees.  Because TCRS pre-funds its pension liability before members retire, the system is able to withstand volatility in the financial marketplace as it occurs from time to time.

The TCRS investment staff is closely monitoring the markets and potential actions by Congress.  The portfolio is widely diversified to reduce risk in a manner that prevents any one company from having a significant impact on returns.  While all pension systems have been negatively impacted by recent events, TCRS typically performs better than its peers in down markets.  This is largely due to its conservative asset allocation.

Oct 2

TEA Bargaining Conference

2008 at 7:55 pm posted by Bryan Massengale

The Tennessee Education Association’s annual Bargaining Conference will be held on November 14, 15, & 16, 2008, at the Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tennessee.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend sessions designed to enhance bargaining skills and provide information regarding current trends and opportunities that can benefit the members we represent. The program will consist of a combination of small group sessions and general meetings.

If you are interested in going as a member of RDEA, contact your building representative ASAP. The deadline for signing up is Friday, October 10, 2008.

Sep 30

Becky Ruppe to Address RDEA

2008 at 3:21 pm posted by Bryan Massengale

On Monday, October 6, 2008, Becky Ruppe (candidate for State Senate) will address the teachers of Rhea County at 3:45 P.M. in the library at Rhea County High School. Come and hear Becky and learn what she can do for public education in Tennessee.

Sep 25

RDEA Members Approve 08-09 Contract

2008 at 3:02 pm posted by Bryan Massengale

The membership of RDEA has approved the 2008-2009 Contract with the following vote count: 94.34% - YES, 5.66% - NO.

The following memo was sent on September 19 from Bryan Massengale, RDEA Chief Negotiator to Dallas Smith, Superintendent; Rebecca Sells, Assistant Superintendent; Billy Graham, Chairman of the Board; and B.J. McCoy, School Board Chief Negotiator:

The membership of RDEA has voted to accept Article 8 for the 2008-2009 academic year. I want to take this time to to thank B.J. McCoy for his dedication to the task at hand. This was a hard year to accept the end result. Let’s hope things can have a better outcome in future years. Our teachers deserve better.

As an Association, we enjoy working with the Board in anyway possible. Let us know if there is ever anything we can do.

Thanks go to the membership of RDEA for their input on this year’s contract. Look for 2009-2010 process to start early spring.

Sep 16

Time to vote for Article 8

2008 at 8:22 am posted by Jeff Ferrell

It’s time to vote on Article 8 for the 2008-2009 school year. Mark your ballot that will be handed out this week and return to your Building Representative no later than 12 noon on Friday, September 19, 2008.

For reference, you can download a PDF copy of Article 8 here, or on from the sidebar on the Documents page.

E-mail Bryan Massengale, RDEA Chief Negotiator, at if you have any questions. Remember ~ Only RDEA members vote. It is a privilege of membership!

Changes for 2008-2009
» Article 8 - F  Academic Supplements
No changes in amounts over 2007-2008.

» Article 8 - F  Non-Academic Supplements
No change in amounts over 2007-2008.  First time supplements for: RCHS Athletic Trainer, RCHS Boys Soccer Assistant, RCHS Girls Soccer Assistant.

» Article 8 - G6 - Unused Sick Leave Days
Changes the 30 years of experience to 25 years experience.

» Article 8 - H - Differentiated Pay Plan
The Rhea County Department of Education will recongnize teachers who have earned the National Board Certification by paying an annual supplement of $4,000.00 for the life of the National Board Certification. Upon gaining National Board Certification, the Board will reimburse the $2,500.00 assessment fee.

» Appendix A - Salary Schedule (Teachers/Principals)
No raise over 2007-2008. Any supplements that are receive are added to these figures.

» Appendix B - Salary Schedule (System-wide Personnel)
No raise over 2007-2008. Any supplements that are received are added to these figures.

May 20


2008 at 4:09 pm posted by Bryan Massengale

We’re glad that you’ve found our new RDEA website…! The Association is so grateful to Jeff Ferrell (RCHS) for spending countless hours setting up our new website.

We hope this is a place you can use to find needed information, be it contract information, newsletters, leadership contacts, or up to date Association news.  Look for the “Enter your email address to be notified when this page is updated” box near the bottom of this page to keep up-to-date with the latest information. By doing this you’ll never be out of the loop!

Contact any Association leader if you are even in need of any information, help with an issue, or have an idea to make things better.

Thank you for your membership. When we all work together, things only get better!

Have a great summer!