The Metro Nashville Board of Education could soon weigh in on state Republicans’ efforts to strip teacher unions of their collective bargaining ability.
Longtime school board member Ed Kindall told The City Paper Wednesday he plans to make a motion next board meeting (March 8) to express disapproval of state legislative attempts aimed at ending the teachers’ union’s right to collective bargaining. The school board’s vote would amount to a non-binding resolution that would symbolically express the board’s position.
“I feel we’ve had a pretty good relationship with our teachers’ union over the years,” Kindall said. “We’ve had some times when we’ve had a lot of debate about salary increases, raises and that kind of thing, but I think overall they’ve been helpful to us in many instances.
“I really can’t quite figure out why we need to do away with collective bargaining,” he said.
Anti-collective bargaining legislation sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson of Brentwood cleared the Senate Education Committee last week 6-3 along party lines. Johnson criticized the Tennessee Education Association as a “fierce proponent of mediocrity,” and referred to collective bargaining as an “albatross” hindering the education of children.
The Tennessee School Boards Association has already endorsed Johnson’s bill to curb collective bargaining rights for teachers.
Kindall said his resolution would put Metro’s school board on record.
“It’s a resolution basically stating to the TSBA and whoever’s introducing the legislation what the position of Davidson County is, the Davidson County board of education,” Kindall said.
But there isn’t any guarantee the nine-member school board will approve Kindall’s resolution, opening up the possibility that the board could express support for the anti-collective bargaining legislation.
“I don’t know if it will pass or not,” he said. “Maybe some board members will say, ‘I don’t want to participate’ or ‘I don’t agree with you.’
“We try to recruit teachers, [and] we try to get very competent teachers in the system,” Kindall said. “I think in the last two or three years, anyway, we’ve been weeding out pretty rapidly a lot of the so-called incompetent teachers through dismissals and other kinds of actions. I know that critics say that we’re soft on teachers for whatever reason. I don’t know where that comes from.”