Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Home School Sports/Continuing Contract

Rob Bell’s HB 947, the bill forbidding local school boards from joining the Virginia High School League and allowing home schooled students to participate in public school sports was reported from the House Education Committee today. The vote was interesting – not a party line vote on either side.

YEAS--Landes, Lingamfelter, Cole, Pogge, Massie, Greason, Bell, Richard P., Stolle, LeMunyon, Robinson, Yost, Yancey, Dudenhefer, Morrissey--14.

NAYS--Tata, Rust, Alexander, Ware, O., McClellan, Tyler, Bulova, Keam--8.

VEA joined many other organizations in opposing the bill.

HB 576, the Governor’s “annual contract” bill, which is sponsored by Delegate “Dickie” Bell, will come up in the Teachers and Administrative Action Subcommittee of the House Education Committee tomorrow at 5 p.m. This meeting will be on the 5th Floor West Conference Room in the General Assemlby Building at 9th and Broad. Richmond area educators may want to attend.

This bill will eliminate continuing contract for Virgnia’s teacher and make it so that you will be at-will employees who can be non-renewed without the right to an appeal. The members of this subcommittee are Delegates LeMunyon (Chair), Cole, Robinson, Yost, Yancey, McClellan, Morrissey, and Keam. If one of these delegates represents you, please call them and urge them to vote against HB 576. Click here to access delegate phone numbers.Here are some talking points to use in the event that you can reach the delegate or leave a message:
Talking Points HB 576

Continuing contract is not tenure and does not guarantee teachers a job for life.

Continuing contract protects teachers from nepotism, cronyism, and arbitrary dismissal.

The elimination of continuing contract is a radical change to teacher contract law in Virginia, yet administration presents no empirical data to support such a change. No empirical evidence regarding the difficulty or time it takes to remove an underperforming teacher. No empirical data as to the extent of the problem.

Why should the vast majority of teachers lose their historic expectation of job security in order to remove the very small number of underperforming teachers? Why punish the many for the shortcomings of a very few?

Virginia recruits half its teachers from out of state. Virginia competes with North Caroline, Maryland, etc. for teachers from other states. Surrounding states provide job security and due process. Why would a teacher choose to work in Virginia when they can just easily go to Maryland and enjoy a greater degree of job protection/due process, a higher salary and better retirement benifits?

Current law provides a process for the dismissal of any underperforming teacher, probationary or non-probationary. Many underperforming teachers are removed from their classrooms every year, commonly done through a resignation rather than a dismissal. Human nature is such that “firing” a teacher is something school administrators find difficult to do.

The bill returns us to the bad old days of public employment cronyism, nepotism, and politics by making teaching employment at will for the first 4 years, and putting experienced teachers on term contracts. Renewal of the term contract can be denied at will. Teachers can be and are denied employment and dismissed based on evaluations now. The new law does not just make put an untested evaluation system into statute, but removes all protection for teachers performing well by subjecting them to a renewal decision without cause every 5 years. The Governor wants to eliminate continuing contract subjecting teachers to whim and caprice and destroying the stability of professional teachers for our students.

Please be on high alert. If this bill is reported to full committee we will be urging you to communicate with committee members.