CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A teacher hiring bill that critics claim will reverse key parts of the 2013 education reform bill will be up for second reading, meaning possible amendments, in the state House of Delegates on Thursday.

Members of the House Education Committee approved the reworked bill earlier this week and sent it to the House floor despite opposition from Dr. James Phares, state superintendent of schools, among many others.

Those opponents argued the reform legislation gave teachers and principals more of a voice in the teacher hiring process, with makes seniority one of nine total factors weighed, and this new proposed bill would change that.

“From teachers, principals and superintendents, they believe that the system is working well,” said Phares.  “They get to make the basic decision of who they want on their team to work with their students.”

The House Education Committee amendment would require teachers and principals to document their recommendations for hires, using a graph with the nine criteria, at times when all of those stakeholders agree on the hire.

“All we want is documentation so that we can say, ‘This is how the process works and this is why the process works,'” said Christine Campbell, West Virginia American Federation of Teachers president.

Bob Brown, assistant to the national president for the American Federation of Teachers, agreed.

“It’s a transparency issue.  We are not doing anything to undo the incredible piece of legislation that was passed last year,” he said.  “The flexibility’s still there, the involvement by the faculty senate and the principals is still there.  We think, frankly, this is just a good government amendment.”

Overall, HB 4394 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 once the instructional year has started.

The House could approve the bill before the end of the week, sending it on to the state Senate with three weeks left in the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.

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  • Teacher

    Nice to see that the lack of regard for education of many in their youth has carried over to their adulthood. Alas, many could have benefited with attending parent-teacher conferences.

    Hilarious! Keep them coming. These anti-education posts rival those found in the Gazette's "Readers' Voice".

    • Aaron

      I've claimed teachers have no "rights" to dress as they please and that they are incorrectly classified as county employees. How is that anti-education?

  • Joe

    Quick question to all....

    Are teacher contracts with the county they work in or the state?

    Also, who exactly does a teacher report to within a specific public school?

    Thanks to all on advance for insight.


    • Aaron

      Who pays about 93% of their salary, mandates minimum curriculum standards in the state, provides their benefits and retirement, and controls education in the state?

  • wvu999

    The house Republicans that want this changed defeated should propose a bill that bans election results. All the county clerks should do is announce who won each race an not results. Same thing they want with teachers. Sounds just as stupid as not announcing election results.

  • stophating

    Very interesting article.... my first thought is does Dr. Phares have anymore relatives that are looking for teaching jobs in WV.

    My next thought is if Metronews will remove this post like my last. I do want to give credit to the Charleston Gazette for beginning an investigation into the hiring of the individual named in my now deleted comment.

    Finally in closing, if Dr. Phares is going to insist on a non-transparent, good ole' boys system, could he start calling himself Dr. Jim Bob Phares?

  • Myron

    Thank you AFT! This is an excellent amendment. The principal and/or department heads act like they have final say over what teachers do.

    Don't be surprised if the dress code issue (allowing teachers to where jeans and confirming a dress code is a violation of teacher rights) is taken soon also.

    • Aaron

      There is no right to dress clothing. Anybody who says there is has never read the constitution. Kind of scary for a teacher!

      • wvu999

        Let's get all the lawyers, bankers, coal miners, farmers, CPAs, and all other professions out of the legislature, too. They make laws that help their jobs, too.

        • Aaron

          If they work for the state they're not allowed to serve in the legislature. Are you saying teachers are not state employees?

      • stophating

        I do believe that Big Bob-E is correct... take a look at his comment from above

        • Aaron

          I don't know Myron thus I can't say whether he's a troll or not. Have not seen the contradiction in his post that I've seen in yours so I can't say for sure.

          • Aaron

            You're claim to be a PhD holder yet only making mid-30's is further compounded by the fact that you live in a county that has supplemental pay for teachers.

          • Aaron

            You claimed to hold a PhD yet you also claim that you have to work 3 or 4 jobs because you only made in the mid-30's despite being a local President. It doesn't add up.

            Anything else?

          • stophating

            Please explain any contradiction you've seen in my posts.....

            Thank you.

    • Curious

      to "where" jeans is a violation of teacher rights?

      • Big Bob-E

        Myron is just a troll that pretends to be a teacher just to fire you teacher haters always fall for it hook...line...and...sinker!!!

        • Love the teachers

          We love the teachers and hate the unions and their stacked house education committee

          • Aaron

            The way to address that is to classify teachers is what they truly are, state employees, not county employees. If you remove the incorrect classification that teacher unions somehow got put in place eons ago then by law they cannot serve the legislature.

            The only problem is that given the (cough, cough) County Board of Education is the largest employer in 34 counties and in the top three and 54 counties, education has too large of a footprint in the counties come election time, and they elect who they want in the legislature.

            Sadly, the mistake that classifies teachers as county employees will never be corrected.