CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Red flags are being raised on an education bill pending in the state House of Delegates with less than a month remaining in the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.
The purpose of HB 4394, as stated, is “to improve the process for employing highly qualified professional personnel in the public schools.”
However, Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson, 66) said a close reading of the bill showed it could lead to the reversal of provisions in the comprehensive education reform bill the Legislature approved last year dealing with how seniority is weighted in teacher hires, compared with other hiring factors, along with the involvement of teachers and principals in the hiring process.
“It quickly became apparent that this was an attempt to, basically, gut a key provision that really empowered, not only principals and superintendents, but — for the first time — really gave faculty, in their schools, a say in who joins their team,” said Espinosa.
He said a lot of people are concerned about what’s in the bill.
“(I’ve heard) From local superintendents, others involved in the hiring process, educators who are concerned that they finally just got a voice in the hiring process, now it seems like it’s about to be taken away,” said Espinosa on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Overall, the proposal would make changes to ensure that positions filled by retirees and not fully qualified teachers are posted statewide so they’re easily available to new graduates and reduction in force teachers who are seeking employment; allow capable teachers to more easily obtain certification in additional content areas; ensure teachers and principals consider certain applicant qualifications for employment; and limit the movement of professional personnel to other counties when the instructional year has started.
The full bill is available here.
The lead sponsor of the bill was Del. Mary Poling (D-Barbour, 47), the chair of the House Education Committee. The proposal was still pending in the House Education Committee on Monday.