Meet & Greet with Andrew Farmer

Posted April 5, 2012 by Barry Fain
Categories: State House, State Politics

Candidate for State Representative (17th District)

An informal and relaxed gathering will be held at The Minnis House, located at 939 Churchview St., New Market, TN on April 13th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm to meet Andrew Farmer, talk to him about his candidacy and get to know him.


2012 Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner

Posted February 21, 2012 by Barry Fain
Categories: County, Local Politics, Miscellaneous

March 23, 2012

The Republican Party of Jefferson County, Tennessee will hold its annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in March.

LOCATION: Stokely Memorial Cafeteria

DATE: March 23, 2012

TIME: Doors open at 6:00pm with dinner served at 7:00pm

ADDRESS: 809 E. College St., Jefferson City, TN 37760

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: U.S. Senator Bob Corker

TICKETS: $25.00 per person (Available by contacting Treasurer Marie Johnston at (865) 456-4636 or Vice-Treasurer Robert Blevins at (865) 209-4669.)

Rep. Jeremy Faison, Jefferson County’s newest state representative

Posted January 27, 2012 by JCGOP
Categories: Miscellaneous, State House, State Politics

Rep. Jeremy Faison (District 11)

State Representative Jeremy Faison, a resident of neighboring Cocke County, visited with members of the Jefferson County Republican Party on January 21, 2012 at their annual meeting. Faison now represents portions of Jefferson County, including White Pine, Talbott, Baneberry, Chestnut Hill and part of Jeffeson City, following the recent redistricting from the 2010 census. Previously, Faison represented Cocke and part of Greene County.  

Faison will be running for re-election in 2012. Take a moment to check out his House website and his campaign website.


Gass announces re-election campaign

Posted January 27, 2012 by JCGOP
Categories: County, Local Politics, Miscellaneous

Susan Gaddis Gass, Property Assessor

Susan Gaddis Gass has announced her bid for re-election in 2012. Gass will be unopposed in the March Republican primary. She is slated be facing a Democrat opponent in the August general election.


JCGOP annual meeting coverage

Posted January 27, 2012 by JCGOP
Categories: County, Local Politics, Miscellaneous

Executive Committee Members (Photo by the Jefferson County Post)

Front row (L-R): Lori Tucker, Marie Johnston, Tamra Fain, Robert Blevins and David Oatney. Back row (L-R): Betty Fain, Travis Adderhold, Landon Sanders, Linda Larson, Beau Tucker, Bobby Vesser and Vickie Forgety.

Jefferson County GOP

The Jefferson County Republicans kicked off their 2012 election year on January 21, 2012 with a organizational meeting at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. 

The Grand Old Party is looking to capture the Presidency when voters go to the polls later this year and they are busy trying to energize the voter base both locally and Nationally. 2012 is shaping up to be a active year for local party members, as they look forward to a March 6, 2012 primary date. Saturday morning found several dozens of Jefferson County Republicans discussing campaign issues and strategizing for the coming months.

Source: Jefferson County Post (1-23-12, page 6)

Democrats take whine with medicine

Posted January 12, 2012 by David Oatney
Categories: Governor, Local Politics, State House, State Politics, TN Senate

Tennessee Democrats apparently don’t want to take their own medicine after disregarding the concerns of Republicans about redistricting for cycle after cycle:


There was very little in the way of complaint from Democrats about under-representation of rural Tennessee and East Tennessee back when they drew the districts and drew them to manufacture Democratic majorities that were padded at best and an outright fabrication of reality at worst. Now that it is time to administer the medication to the patient-Tennessee’s electoral system-that Democrats made sick with years of neglect and taking their majorities for granted, Tennessee Democrats do not want to take their medicine. As they know very well from experience, the party that runs the General Assembly calls the tune in Tennessee-see how we felt all those years?

In related news, Tennessee House “Speaker Emeritus” Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) made a public spectacle of himself on the House floor yesterday, complaining that the House was conducting other business with motions on the floor-motions that had already been voted on. Speaker Naifeh also complained about having to sit under the Rule during Roll Call and Announcements. Poor Jimmy. Word from a source on the Hill informs TheExaminer that Naifeh is aware that his redrawn district-a district which for years was drawn to always insure that he was re-elected, will nowe be virtually impossible for him to win. Hence, Jimmy Naifeh either must wrestle with getting beaten at the polls-he only survived by 500 votes in 2010-or he’ll be going back to Covington for his retirement coon supper.

Evaluating the evaluations

Posted January 4, 2012 by Barry Fain
Categories: Miscellaneous

It’s a good idea for us to start with a working definition of “evaluation” from the onset here:

Evaluate (verb)
\i-ˈval-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\
: to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study

I’m no stranger to regular job evaluations, also commonly referred to as performance appraisals. I worked with them for years in both the private and public sectors. However, they tended to be much more constructive in the prior than the latter.  While government needs to adopt some of the methods used in the private sector more, they inevitably seem to botch things up along the way, when they do try.  The evaluations done of my work and those I did of my employees in the private sector were constructive and tied to direct incentives to do well in the form of annual pay increases. The better I performed, the heftier the annual percentage increase I could expect each year. Contrary to those in the private sector, the public sector evaluations tend to do significantly less to promote advancement and nurture employees in their profession. Yes. I know you’ve been told that the TEAM evaluation is designed to help teachers develop their craft and it may well have been in theory but that is not how it is playing out in practice and reality.

Tennessee’s standard evaluation model, the Teacher Education Acceleration Model (TEAM), was developed and piloted in the 2010-2011 school year and then implemented in the current 2011-2012 school year. Unfortunately, in the state’s haste, the bugs were not worked out properly. Maybe, that’s why the definition of “evaluate” above notes the “careful appraisal and study?” I know. Novel. Right?

Governor Haslam has called for an internal and external study of the state-adopted evaluation model that has received so much criticism throughout the education field.  Why?

Gov. Bill Haslam is calling for more study of Tennessee’s new process for evaluating teachers, in a bid to head off legislative action spurred by complaints over the system’s fairness and practicality…

The study comes after state lawmakers, including some fellow Republicans, questioned whether efforts to grade teacher performance are being rolled out haphazardly.

So, it’s defense mode for the administration, after legislators have been inundated with feedback from educators and other concerned stakeholders state-wide. Governor Haslam has pitched the ball to SCORE for the external evaluation, while TDOE conducts their own internal evaluation.

Someone well should be evaluating the system that was rolled out so hastily. Govenor Haslam has dismissed calls for a one year reprieve on using results of this year’s evaluations to make employment/retention decisions, until the evaluation of the model is complete, saying, “I don’t think it would be appropriate for the state to tell local boards, ‘You shouldn’t be using the data that you’re collecting on these evaluations.‘”

Really? If the state can foist the evaluation model on local boards, they feel it not “appropriate” to tell them to hold off on using what may well be a flawed model? Food for thought.  If the model is flawed, wouldn’t any decisions made based on a flawed model be a flawed decision? This seems like another opportunity to note a lack of “careful appraisal and study,” like the definition of “evaluate” implies.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey thinkschange is tough” and “now that we’ve gotten into this evaluation process … for the most part, it has been positive.” “Positive?” To whom in the state has he been talking? Or, better yet, to whom in the state has he been listening

Now, think about this. If feedback, if even “for the most part…has been positive,” as Lt. Gov. Ramsey intimates, why is the administration trying to stave off legislative action by calling for the internal and external reviews by TDOE and SCORE, respectively?  You’re smart enough to figure that out, even if Nashville isn’t giving you credit for being smart enough to figure it out. Legislators are hearing from their constituencies and the feedback is not “positive,” as some might like you to think.

I have read about positive feedback on some locally-developed evaluation models, like the one in Hamilton County called Project COACH. However, Project COACH, is not the rule, it is the exception. Even as the exception, it still has its flaws but it still isn’t as cumbersome as the TEAM model or near as time consuming for teachers and administrators and works to keep the evaluations from being a dog and pony show.

Is the state-adopted TEAM model flawed? It would certainly seem so to me.  After the Tennessean filed an open records request and obtained results from the TDOE for the first semester of the current school year, we can see how subjective principal evaluations have been. While there will always be some level of subjective interpretation in an appraisal process, it should not vary so wildly or “widely,” as the article title implies. “Wildly” seems more appropriate to me from reading the information contained in the article.

So, while evaluations can and should be a good thing, shoddy development and implementation do not a good evaluation model make. And, for Pete’s sake, make them applicable to the subjects being taught. It is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. An evaluation has to be specific to the situation. Direct instruction courses adopted by local school systems do not readily fit the rubric of the TEAM model. In simpler terms, you cannot compare apples to oranges. You are either going to have to have teachers teach to the rubric of the model and forgo the direct instruction model program on which they have been trained and told to teach or forgo the rubric and teach the direct-instruction model they have been told to teach.

You cannot have it both ways. Or, more precisely, you cannot have it both ways and be fair to the teachers you profess to be wanting to advance and help improve their craft to benefit the students. Wasn’t that the whole jist of the evaluations to begin with, helping teachers improve their skills, so students benefit from it? I thought I heard that along the way somewhere.


The views expressed here by this author are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of the JCGOP.