All is in place for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s education reform bill to receive final approval in the legislature by Friday. The House Education Committee gave unanimous approval to the bill Tuesday afternoon.

The vote is a representation of just how much consensus there is on the legislation that’s been agreed to by the governor, legislative leaders and teacher labor groups.

Stowers

House Education Committee Vice-Chairman Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln,┬ásays the committee didn’t change the bill that came over from the Senate.

“It goes to show how everyone was committed to making positive reforms,” Stowers said.

House Speaker Rick Thompson and House Education Committee Chair Mary Poling, D-Barbour, were involved in the discussions that took place before the Senate vote.

Stowers, a vice principal at a Kanawha County middle school, believes the changes the bill makes in hiring practices will prove to be significant.

“Teachers are going to have buy-in now because of this bill,” Stowers said. “They are going to have buy-in the hiring. They are going to have buy-in on who is teaching in their building along with administrators. So that’s an enormous first step forward.”

The bill gives weighted influence to principals and faculty senate when it comes to hiring teachers.

Del. Stowers says join the hiring practices changes with the changes the bill makes to the school calendar to guarantee 180 days of classroom instruction and you have a home run.

“Those two things alone are to me something that will increase student achievement and something we can hang our hat on to say we did something positive this session,” Stowers said.

The bill will be up for first reading in the House Wednesday.

 

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Comments

  • Another Concerned Parent

    Real reform would be to create real school choice. If I could I would send my kids to a private school. It's good enough for many of our state's leaders, including Senator Wells and Secretary of State Tennant. The difference is I work my rear end off in the private sector, while they leach off of the tax dollars that I and many others pay.

    • wvu999

      Another, I totally disagree.
      What would make a private or charter school better than a public school? The answer is simple you keep the unwatned out. How is that fair? Well, currently public schools have to take everyone. So, a charter or private school you have to be accepted, and the rules are stronger and more regulated. If all school had the flexibility as private and charter schools then there would be no need for them. Many charter schools pay their teachers a much better salary and therefor they get the better teachers. Again, not fair. If Public schools paid their teachers more the job would be more competitive, too. Charter Schools is an excuse for people to send their student to a school other than public school using public funds. Just make all public schools be a lot more strict on discipline and pay teachers a respectable wage (not 48th) and you will see better outcomes.
      If a student has a sever behavior disorder the private or charter school will revoke their ability to attend that school. The public school may expel the student for a period of time, but then they have to let the student back in. Different rules and unlevel playing field.

  • Andrew

    For all of you who think teachers sit around and do nothing during our "breaks", it is simply not true. I live in the eastern panhandle, I am single and have to work on my "days off" and teach summer school, to make ends meet. Most teachers in the eastern panhandle pick up a second job just to pay the morgage and bills. Not having "summers off" so i can make more money will put extreme pressure to get another better paying job. Was there anything in the bill about locality pay? WE NEED IT HERE! If you dont believe me compare the price of a home in another county to a home in Berkeley or Jefferson Co., how is a teacher supposed to make a living here!?

    • stophating

      @Andrew

      Just wait until next year, I'm certain that Erik Wells will introduce a bill to pay us in scrip and have use shop at "Phares Company Store"

      I, myself, think that the new bill essentially sets up last minute day by day layoffs of school personnel.

    • Joe

      Andrew:

      I hear you...many non-teachers take on second jobs to make ends meet.

      As far as higher locality pay where appropriate and higher pay for teaching in rural areas or science and math or, or that matter, simply performing better than your peers statewide, you need to get an answer from Judy Hale or Dale Lee.

      As it is now, you will receive a salary increase when everyone else does, regardless od how you differentiate yourself or how hard you work.

      Take care,

      Joe

    • Michael

      Take a look around Andrew and you will find out that the price in the Eastern Panhandle isn't much higher than most fo thte state. I was in your area not too long ago and found that a gallon of milk costs the same there as it does here. A loaf of bread as well and a gallon of gas. Locality pay is all that you worry about in the Eastern Panhandle. Leave your neck of the woods and you will see everyone is struggling.

  • js

    This bill is terrible. No wonder our state has no jobs and our educational system is failing. Our law makers are the biggest failuers. Those of us who voted for Tomblin are not very wise. He is a jack ass.

  • wvu999

    Josh Stowers is trying to make a name for himself. He is his biggest fan.

  • MrJ

    Welcome to edumacation!

  • Tyler

    How is lowering the required education for the State Superintendent to a mere master's degree in ANY field a positive change for the future of education in WV? Also, this bill removes their salary cap of $175,000 so they can get paid even more. WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE PAYING MORE FOR A LESS QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL?? This doesn't make sense at all... And don't even get me started on the new criteria for hiring teachers. Now it will be even easier for principles to place "family" or "friends" in teaching jobs even though there are more qualified people. Just take a look at Pleasants county if you want proof of that already happening; majority of them have some sort of connection, whether it be through family or close friends... Finally, maybe the reason our overall test grades are declining is that our teachers have to jump through all the hoops set up by government officials who have no idea what they are doing. Just my two cents.

  • Rhetoric

    Seriously, tooting your horn on the amount of snow day instruction. For only a few counties that may have double digit snow days, really, do you think a lot of learning gets done during the first and last week of school each year. Not one mention of alleviating the top heavy administration at the state level or county level. Pat each other on the back with more political rhetoric. Were is the additional funding for school supplies, building maintenance and funding technology. Nothing. Bravo!!!

    • will

      Boy you hit the nail on the head!

      • Sherry

        Especially considering some teachers don't care and would rather show movies to the class then teach them, then send home stacks of worksheets for the parents to teach the child, then the wonderful west test that teachers talk about all year but then after the kids take the test they do nothing in class after that except for cleaning up the classroom? Really and your worried about them. Issuing a few snow days? How about worry about how much(or how little) actually gets taught to our kids? What happened to having to memorize the multiplication chart? Or memorizing the stateside capitols? Or the presidents and Vice Presidents! And since when does 2 + 2 = 5? Guesstamating? Seriously? And we wonder why kids can't make change at stores anymore! I also feel if a child isn't getting what they are learning then they should be held back instead of just getting passed on down the line...it's simply unbelievable!

        • Daronlif

          Now, let's take all of these complaints and see how many of them are the teachers' fault.

          1) Movies - Teachers do this, but the administration in their building needs to crack down on it.

          2) Westest - Hated by students, hated by teachers, loved by politicians and number crunchers. Not a teacher issue. Blame No Child Left Behind.

          3) The Basics - The Westest doesn't value memorization at all. Since the Westest directly effects funding and whether or not the state will take over the school (Which to date has never made things better), teachers are told by their counties to teach to the test (different words are used, same idea).

          Your complaints are bigger than the school level. Take them to the State and see how far that gets you.

  • Keiffer

    Ok now lets hope Senate bill 417 or HB 2527 gets passed. This state has a terrible drug problem. A lot of the people have children who need them. The trouble is mom and dad are on pills, meth, crack etc. If mom and dad aren't forced to get off drugs who will help the kids? Please pass a law where mom and dad have to pass a drug test to get benefits. If they fail they go into rehab. It's a win for the state! but most of all its a win for the kids. I ask everyone to call your senator or delegate and make a difference.

    • Tyler

      So where do the kids go if the parents are sent to rehab..? I fail to see this as "a win for the kids".

      • Keiffer

        What about grandparents or uncle and aunts. What about the DHHR or temporary fostor care or we could just let the parents stay on drugs. This bill would do more for education than bill 359.

      • Chris

        Hopefully to a household where their caretakers don't abuse drugs. The parents have to be held accountable... If they aren't responsbile/ capable enough to get off drugs in order to keep their kids and receive assistance, they probably aren't responsible enough to give a child a suitable home life. A bill that reduces drug use in our state would never be bad thing anyway you look at it.

  • Robert

    Josh Stowers...now that's somebody that neither side can trust. He should have a pretty successful political career in West Virginia!!!