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Thu February 9, 2012
Tennessee Educators Balk at Haslam Class Size Proposal
Governor Bill Haslam's plan to lift a cap on class size averages is meeting resistance from educators, but the Republican calls the proposal a key element of his effort to allow school districts to raise teacher pay. Haslam told reporters after a visit to a Maury County middle school this week that Tennessee is alone in setting both maximum total and average class sizes. Removing the average size requirement would allow schools to have larger classes, meaning the total number of teachers could drop. Haslam stressed that the maximum class size limits would remain in place, but some educators fear the effect of more classes being filled to capacity. Maury County Schools Director Eddie Hickman expressed reservations after a meeting with the governor on Tuesday. Hickman says the latest proposals combined with last year's changing of teacher evaluation and tenure standards have contributed to the lowest teacher morale since he became the district's school director in 2004.