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.
House Education Committee Vice-Chairman Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln, says 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.