By Lisa Fingeroot | The Tennessean
Opponents of a new Tennessee teacher pay plan are taking their fight to social media and asking for the ouster of the man they blame -- Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.
Two Facebook pages created just after the State Board of Education approved the pay plan changes last week call for Huffman's firing, and a Change.org petition calling for the same action has about 700 signatures.
No one stepped up to claim authorship of the Facebook pages after Tennessean.com posted an interview request on them, but one page administrator sent an anonymous message saying he or she did not want to be known. One page had just more than 300 likes this afternoon and the other one was moving past 600 likes.
The author of the petition is a parent who claimed ownership through an email, but did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation to her district.
State education leaders are taking the criticism in stride.
"You will never hear a complaint about a commissioner of education who has done nothing," said Mike Edwards, a State Board of Education member.
Huffman released a statement this afternoon: "We have a singular focus: to make sure that Tennessee is the fastest-improving state in the nation. On behalf of families and children, we are committed to reporting significant progress toward that goal every year."
The new pay plan eliminates the decades-old pay schedule that financially rewards teachers only for advanced degrees and years of service. It requires local school districts to create differentiated pay scales that can still include advanced education and experience, but must also include another variable, such as performance pay. Districts must comply by the 2014-15 school year.