The cover art on last week's Flyer was awesome and made me stop what I was doing to jump straight into "Taxi Stories" (Cover Story, February 17th issue). The stories were well written, interesting, and a fun addition to the Flyer. Fast Eddie has a way of bringing his adventures home to share. Very entertaining.
I hope you will make "Taxi Stories" a regular part of the Flyer.
Keep the Yellow fleet rolling. Eddie Tucker has a Jack Kerouac-like beat that resonates with the struggling souls of our times. The poetry of human beings trying to get somewhere is an urban saga that should continue for many more miles. Eddie, well known in the Memphis area as an accomplished visual artist, has revealed that he is also a very capable street journalist with a unique sensitivity for good stories.
Sesto Calende, Italy
Wow. "Taxi Stories" was good. How about making it a monthly series? The stories make us all laugh at ourselves and learn a little something at the same time.
Way to go, Eddie!
I want to thank Randy Haspel for the article he wrote (The Rant, February 17th issue) about the weird affectations so many (especially female) singers have adopted. I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand the melisma in the vocals and the finger wiggling on the microphone. Quality vocalists don't need gadgetry. The article was hilarious.
In the first week of the new Tennessee legislative session, Representative Debra Maggart and Senator Dolores Gresham have filed two bills that strike at the hearts of Tennessee's teachers.
The Maggart bill (HB 130), if passed and signed into law, will end 32 years of teacher negotiations in this state. For over 100 years before the Educators Professional Negotiations Act became law, teacher compensation was at the whim of school superintendents and local boards of education. Men were paid more than women. Caucasian teachers were paid more than African-American teachers. Secondary school teachers were paid more than elementary teachers, and friends of the "right people" were routinely paid more than their peers. There was no fair and equitable salary schedule. Negotiations changed that.
The Gresham bill (SB 102) would replace the ability of teachers to select the teacher representatives to the TCRS Board of Trustees with appointments by the speakers of the state Senate and House. Teachers who contribute to the system would have no voice in determining who represents them on their retirement board. Instead, politicians who are not members of the system would make that determination.
As of this writing, no bills have been filed to support teachers in getting the job done in the classroom. Nothing has been introduced that would enhance teaching and learning in our schools and classrooms. Everything talked about so far is about restrictions and loss. It is ironic that this comes at a time when teachers are asked to work harder and smarter in order to help our students achieve ever more rigorous standards.
All of us recall a period in our lives that we term the good old days. When we look closely, however, we realize those good old days never really were. In the fictional good old days, teachers had even lower salaries, no voice in determining education policy, and only a fraction of boys and girls graduated from high school compared to today. Teachers will not sit still while some legislators attempt to take the teaching profession and public education back to a simpler but less effective time.
Media reports indicate Governor Bill Haslam intends to make public education a key component of his agenda. Our experience with the former mayor of Knoxville has shown him to be a thoughtful man. We believe he wants to make a positive difference in public education and the lives of all Tennesseans. We will be meeting with the governor to understand what he wants to accomplish, and we will let him know what teachers believe will be helpful in educating Tennessee's students. We anticipate working with Governor Haslam to improve our public schools.
Tennessee's teachers will not be silenced. The Tennessee Education Association will rise to fight to protect the hard-won rights some misguided forces seem willing to eliminate.
Al Mance, Executive Director
Tennessee Education Association
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