Teachers are set to protest at the state legislature Saturday over several proposals they say would hurt Tennessee’s educators.
At issue are bills like the one to take away teachers’ collective-bargaining rights, and one sponsored by the governor that would weaken tenure. That’s a protection for established teachers against being fired without due process.
Some educators feel like they’re under attack. Mark Duren is a high-school special-needs teacher. He says he only recently got active with the state union – the Tennessee Education Association. Now he’s worried the effort may be too little, too late, but:
“You can’t quit, you can’t give up. And that’s what I tell my kids: you just have to keep plugging along. And I feel really bad now to have not joined the union when I first had the opportunity.”
Duren notes the proposals are being carried by Republicans, who hold firm majorities in both chambers of the legislature, as well as the governor’s office.
Duren and others say they’re hoping protests will build a snowball effect. In recent days some in the House have hinted they might soften the measure that strips collective-bargaining rights.