City school board passes resolution supporting teachers
Published 11:22 am Wednesday, September 14, 2022
BY ROBERT SORRELL
Board members in Elizabethton passed a resolution in support of city school teachers during its meeting Tuesday evening.
School Board Chairman Eddie Pless said the board’s resolution was passed “in light of all the rhetoric” regarding public education, teachers and colleges.
The resolution follows controversial disparaging comments made earlier this year by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn toward public school teachers in Tennessee.
Arnn said, “Teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country,” and said teachers don’t have to be experts to educate “because basically anybody can do it.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee attended the event Arnn spoke at and has been accused of not defending teachers.
Elizabethton’s resolution says Lee “has failed to defend the excellent teachers across our state.”
The resolution “acknowledges the importance of an excellent public education system to both the quality of life and the economic prosperity of the city of Elizabethton.”
The board offers its “unwavering support for Elizabethton City Schools professional educators and thank them for their accomplishments and dedication to our students and family.”
Board members unanimously approved the resolution
“Not supporting our teachers would be almost criminal,” said Pless, who added that teachers are vital to the school system.
Pless said that due to the lack of response from the state’s government officials, the board “needs to acknowledge [teachers] publicly.”
Numerous school district boards across Tennessee have passed similar resolutions this year.
In early July, the Sullivan County Board of Education approved a resolution expressing “support and appreciation for the dedicated professional educators who work tirelessly” to serve the district’s families.
Board members also learned about a new coffee shop opened by students at Elizabethton High School.
Student liaison Gracie Fields said the new café, which was developed by an entrepreneurial class, opened last week.
“They opened Friday and made $480 on opening day,” said Fields, who added that a ribbon cutting ceremony was held Monday.
The shop sells coffee, tea, lemonade and other items. It opens during the morning before classes begin and during third period.
EHS Principal Jon Minton said the project has been in the works for more than two years, with efforts beginning before the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funding and community partners has helped make the shop a reality.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pless said. “We used to dream about things like this.”