WV Governor’s Education Reform Bill - SB359

The much anticipated reform agenda of the governor was introduced and will begin moving through the Senate. The only true reform measures in the governor’s bill that have the potential to increase student achievement are full day pre-K and modifications to teacher prep programs and professional development.  Unfortunately, the majority of the 179-page bill is directed at teachers and other education employees.

Here are a few of the most egregious parts of his bill:

  1. Hiring criteria to become subjective - uses a single set of criteria; no equal weighting of criteria; lumps new hires and veteran teachers into the same hiring pool; uses criteria such as academic achievement; amount of course work in the relevant field and “other indicators upon which the qualifications can be fairly judged”. This opens the hiring process to nepotism, cronyism and the “good ole boy” days of the past.
  2. Planning periods may be reduced - changes language to “…planning period shall be the length of the shortest class taught by the teacher and may not be less than 30 minutes.” At a time when more time is needed, he wants to reduce the little planning time teachers have.
  3. School calendar undergoes massive changes - requires 180 separate and full days of instruction; no paid holidays; all time missed must be made up including late starts and early dismissals; teachers not paid for days school is not in session due to inclement weather; employees must work until they reach 180 instructional days and 200 days of employment; removal of the 43 week limit to the school calendar; only one Faculty Senate day per year is required; and it eliminates all ISE days.
  4. Teach for America - allows Teach for America (TFA) to provide non-certified college grads to teach; 2-year contracts and may be renewed for 1 additional year. Clearly they have no value for the skills or training needed to perform your work.