Knox County teachers prepare to voice concern at Monday meeting

Knox County teachers prepare to voice concern at Monday meeting

Posted:
The Knox County Board of Education will discuss renewing Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's contract at its meeting Monday night. The Knox County Board of Education will discuss renewing Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's contract at its meeting Monday night.
Dozens of teachers have already voiced their frustration with teacher evaluations and student testing policies in the district that went into place during the 2011-2012 school year. Dozens of teachers have already voiced their frustration with teacher evaluations and student testing policies in the district that went into place during the 2011-2012 school year.
Some Knox County teachers say after making appeals to the superintendent's office and hardly getting anything back, they had no choice but to speak out. Some Knox County teachers say after making appeals to the superintendent's office and hardly getting anything back, they had no choice but to speak out.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Board of Education will discuss renewing Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's contract at its meeting Monday night.

McIntyre has faced criticism in recent weeks from a number of Knox County teachers.

Many of them have spoken out at recent school board meetings, urging the board to not extend his contract.

A number of those same educators also plan to speak out at Monday night's meeting.

Dozens of teachers have already voiced their frustration with teacher evaluations and student testing policies in the district that went into place during the 2011-2012 school year.

"It's a horrible situation for teachers and students," said Linda Holtzclaw, a seventh grade teacher at South Doyle Middle School.

They say the evaluations are unfair and the amount of student testing is excessive.

"It feels horrible. It feels stressful. It feels frustrating," said Holtzclaw. "It's upsetting to my students to have to test all the time. To be told you're about to have a test on this. You're about to have a test on this."

"I think that it takes a lot of the love of learning out of school. A lot of their early academic experience has been negatively affected by this emphasis on numbers and statistics and standardized testing," said Robert Taylor, a special education teacher at Amherst Elementary.

These teachers say after making appeals to the superintendent's office and hardly getting anything back, they had no choice but to speak out.

"It's gotten to the point now if we don't speak up now, we're never going to have a voice," said Taylor.

Many of those same teachers held a meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss what they plan to say to the board Monday night, as board members discuss and vote on a new contract for Dr. McIntyre.

They will ask that his contract not be extended.

They're not asking that he be let go, but want to feel that his office is hearing their concerns and responding to them before they're willing to get behind an extension of his contract.

"We want to work with him but we also want the school board to show us that they're holding him to the same standard that they're holding us," said Taylor.

Dr. McIntyre has been superintendent for the last six years. His contract currently runs through 2016.

While the board's December 2013 evaluation of his performance this year is primarily positive, it does point to his need to focus on improving relationships with Knox County teachers, specifically communication between his office and teachers.

In response to recent teacher concerns, McIntyre has put together a teacher discussion group that will meet on Tuesday, so he can hear their concerns.

Teachers at Sunday's meeting say that's a step in the right direction.

Monday's Knox County Board of Education meeting is set for 5 p.m. at the Andrew Johnson Building.

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