Tag Archives: Bill Dunn

Bill Dunn: Pre-K is like paying $1,000 for a McDonald’s Burger

News release from state Rep. Bill Dunn:
(NASHVILLE) — Last week, researchers at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University released findings of their 2013 pre-kindergarten study – a research effort dedicated to detailing the effects of pre-kindergarten on the long-term academic success of Tennessee students.

The findings show that by the end of kindergarten “the differences between participants and non-participants were no longer statistically significant”, except in one case where the children who did not attend Pre-K actually outperformed those who did. (Note: Tennessean story on the report is HERE.)

“Tennesseans were told that Pre-K would increase graduation rates and even prevent 80 murders and 6,400 aggravated assaults each year,” said State Representative Bill Dunn (R–Knoxville), citing Pre-K advocate literature. “I truly hope people will recognize this was all very expensive hype.”

According to estimates, the total cost of implementing a full-scale Pre-K program in Tennessee would exceed $460 million per year.

“If you do a cost-benefit analysis on this extremely expensive program, you will come to the conclusion that it is like paying $1,000 for a McDonald’s hamburger,” Dunn continued. “It may make an initial dent on your hunger, but it doesn’t last long and you soon realize you could have done a lot more with the money spent.”

Instead, Dunn called for shifting resources to places that have shown to have a real impact on students, like having a great teacher in front of every classroom.

“Our teachers have stepped up with the new educational reforms that have been initiated and have shown improvement on annual test scores for three years in a row. For all of this hard work, I think they should be rewarded,” concluded Dunn.

Bill Dunn serves as Chairman of the House Calendar & Rules Committee. He lives in Knoxville and represents District 16, which includes a portion of Knox County.

House Republicans Retreat and Revise Collective Bargaining Bill

With the approval of Gov. Bill Haslam, House Republicans retreated from a push to prohibit collective bargaining by teachers unions and instead substituted a rewritten bill that puts new restrictions on the practice.
The revised bill was zipped through the House Education Subcommittee on a party-line vote with Democrats protesting they had not had a chance to digest the changes, which were drafted by Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, at the request of House Speaker Beth Harwell.
A Senate committee earlier approved the original version, which flatly forbids collective bargaining between teacher organizations and local school boards. About 90 of the state’s 130 school systems now have collective bargaining.
The new version would allow bargaining to continue on basic pay and benefits for teachers, but explicitly keeps some things off the table.
Among the excluded subjects are merit pay, extra “differential pay” for teachers in specific subjects such as math and science, dues deductions for unions, the salary and benefits of principals and “working conditions” of teachers.
The revised bill would make it easier to “decertify” an association as a bargaining agent for teachers, requiring only 30 percent of those covered by an agreement to vote out a union instead of 50 percent as under current law. Also, it calls for all persons covered by a proposed contract to vote on ratification instead of just those who are part of the union, as is the case under current law.

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Common Cause Chair Steps Back from Support of Election Administrator Bill

As noted in a previous post, Dick Williams, chairman of Common Cause-Tennessee, was publicly thanked by Sen. Dewayne Bunch on the Senate floor for his help on a bill that declares the duties of county election administrators. The bill then passed 30-0 without discussion, though it had inspired intense partisan debate over on the House side, where Rep. Bill Dunn is sponsor.
Now, it turns out that Dunn had asked Williams for a letter expressing support for the measure. Williams said he initially agreed, but has since heard from House Democrats about the possible ramifications of the legislation – namely that it could impact a pending federal lawsuit over firing of Democratic election administrators by county Election Commissions now controlled by Republicans.
Williams has now changed his mind about support for the bill and has provided a copy of the letter he sent Dunn on the matter.
Here it is:

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