CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers said it would be a mistake for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to veto a bill that would give teachers total autonomy over their daily planning periods.

WV-AFT President Christine Campbell said increasing requirements placed on teachers in recent years is taking away from their planning time, which ultimately can hurt instruction.

“If we don’t really focus on giving teachers the time to develop those lessons, we’re not going to improve student achievement,” Campbell said.

Members of the House of Delegates and state Senate gave the compromise bill, SB477, final approval on the final day of the regular legislative session last Saturday. If it’s signed into law by Gov. Tomblin, teachers would have total control of their planning periods and wouldn’t have to go to conferences or meetings that are sometimes scheduled to those times. They could choose to go.

Campbell said teachers are loaded down with documentation and other requirements and many times they have to use their 40-minute planning periods to get that work done.

“The list of things that need to happen during a planning period have gotten out of hand,” she said. “The principal says, ‘I know you need to do this, but can you do this today?'”

The state Board of Education may ask the governor to veto the bill. Members say they will make a decision after county school districts are surveyed to see how much it may cost to hire substitute teachers who would be used to take teachers out of their classes for meetings during regular class time.

“There is discussion (by the state board) that this will hinder collaboration but I┬ábelieve it’s the total opposite,” Campbell said. “They (teachers) will use the time to collaborate with colleagues and administrators.”

The governor will have 15 days to decide to sign or veto the bill once it reaches his desk.


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  • Unreal

    Independent view
    I know you. I've dealt with people with your mind set for far to long. Most of them had positions of authority and thought they were smarter than those under them. You see I started at the bottom and when I got to the top I didn't forget where I came from. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Can't understand why you think you can talk about teachers but nobody can talk about you.

  • Unreal

    Independent. View
    I will say you are right about the system being broke. What system in this country , that is ran by government , state or county officials isn't broken?? Yes superintendents are teachers who are to lazy to teach. Only my opinion.

  • Unreal

    Independent view
    Never said anything about knowing anything about the education system . But since you ask I am married to a teacher. So I guess I know a little about it . I also see that you are pretty much against unions. Just in case you don't know, if we do away with unions then we'll be going back to the days when we work for nothing. When you have no representation then you have nothing. Ask the miners ,carpenters and dig in the dirt workers, no wait that could be impossible . Most of the ones who fought to get better conditions are gone. This is about more than just teachers, this is about the right to bargain for better working conditions and better pay. Take the unions away and see what your education does for you then. You can argue all you want, but just look back to Matewan. You do know what that was about ?? And yes I still think your in the dark. Education or not, common sense is a must and I know lots of people that have years of college , have moved way up the ladder, but in truth could not make it without the people under them.

  • GWB

    Why call it a planning period if teachers aren't permitted to use it for "planning?"

  • Hillbilly

    Are the rest of the people in WV as sick as I am of hearing the teachers unions whining about all the problems in teaching???? If they think it so bad why in gods name don't they get a real job!!!!!

    • Leo

      Well Hillbilly, you sure fit your name! Have some respect and capitalize God. Then, thank a teacher for teaching you how to read and write.

  • Independent View

    Ah, come on wvu999, to make such a statement as "Exactly why non educators shouldnt have anything to do with education" is not even a rational statement; it's just a snarky remark.
    Fortunately, most county BOEs are comprised of non-educators. It is only right and fair that non-educators have oversight over the millions of taxpayer dollars that counties spend on education in their respective county.
    Part & parcel of education's ills is career teachers sitting on the state BOE and stacking the state senate & house education committees with retired & active teachers and school administrators. The proverbial saying of the fox is watching the hen house is applicable. It does not take a degree in education to understand what the system is mandated to accomplish, but it does take an objective view from pepole without vested interests in their salaries or benefits to stand up and say, taxpayers having been throwing billions of dollars at education in this state and it continues its downward spiral. I have yet to hear one BOE member, state or local, an administrator or teacher or union admit that our educational system is a failure.

    • wvu999

      If a bank wasnt functioning properly who would you call in to fix it?
      How about a hospital?
      Or a Law Firm?

      My guess would be people that have something to do with that field.

      I dont understand why we allow bankers, lawyers, CPAs, healthcare workers, farmers, business leaders, etc in legislature. The can work the laws that directly effect them. Makes no sense to say you shouldnt have educators as legislators because they make laws that directly effect them.

      Everyone thinks they are an educational expert because they attended a school, their parent or relative was a teacher or because they are smarter than everyone else.

      • Aaron

        My response to that is that teachers have controlled the Education Committee's in the Legislature for the better part of have a century.

        So where has all this teaching expertise gotten our educational system?

        • wvu999

          Aaron, what does that have to do with anything? That is one small piece to a HUGE puzzle. That is one committee in the house. Bills have to pass other committees. They have to pass the full house and the senate committees and the full senate. The senate has very few if in the field of education.
          After all of that is finished then the governor has to sign the bill into law.

          I guess you went through elementary school and learned from a teacher how a bill becomes law so you know that one committee in the house doesnt make a bill into a law.

          • Aaron S.

            Where do bills originate?

  • independent View

    First, if you have worked in the private sector for 35 years, how would you have any knowledge about the educational system?
    Secondly, it is unfortunate that you state:
    "Maybe you need to crawl out from under the rock your under," when you do not know me, yet you post such a derogatory remark for expressing an opinion--just as you have?
    For your information, I am an educated professional and probably hold more educational credentials than most teachers. My field of employment also requires a state license, after passing a grueling national test that has a failure rate of 50%+. So, please spare me the derogative remarks that I live under a rock or than I am an uneducated person. I have survived the corporate sector for 35 years and did not need a union to protect my job or gain raises and enhanced benefits.
    My point was and is, to reiterate, if the whining teachers would spend a year in the corporate world or an uninsulated and union protected environment, they would beg to have their teaching jobs back.
    And, finally, at the mere suggestion that accountability be tied to teachers' pay raises and enhanced benefits precipatates a deluge of snarky posts.
    Ps- yes, your meetings provide you a wonderful opportunity for job growth, however, the real work is done from behind the desk, in front of the classroom or the back of a garbage truck.

    • Aaron

      Why is it that you have no problem speaking derogatory to and at teaching but when the attitude is returned, you are offended?

  • Unreal

    To independent view
    I've worked in the private sector for 35 years and nothing you say is true. Maybe you need to crawl out from under the rock your under. The meeting I attend are much needed or nothing would get done. Guess you have a cushy job don't know for sure

    • Harpers Ferry

      From Independant's postings, I can't tell if he's merely just a troll, a lier, an idiot, or all the above.

  • Zoey

    It's also funny how those ISE "planning days'" always fall in a Friday before a 3 day weekend.

    • wvu999

      Dont say ALWAYS

      So, you would rather the ISE days be in the middle of the week to upset the flow of lessons?

      Exactly why non educators shouldnt have anything to do with education.

      • Aaron

        I disagree. I have no problem with non-educators working in education. I've often favored a method of recruiting retired military and successful business people into administrative positions in education.

        To be honest, I'm sure many would do a wonderful job and provide schools with much needed leadership.

        I do have a problem with clueles people being involved in education though, which is what I think you may have been dealing with above.

  • Zoey

    Make teachers go to work on snow days. The taxpayers pay them to work 200 days a year and they are not going to come close working those days this year.

    Make them go to work on snow days and they can plan and grade papers all day long in total peace and quietness.

    Let's see the union endorse that one. Yeah right.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      The reason most counties (and please understand that is an administrative decision, not the "teacher") don't call in teachers on snow days is that all staff would understandably have to be additionally compensated for that snow day, but then the contracts of all staff and personnel would have to be extended when the make-up days are assigned should the school year be extended.

      No one works for free. It is referred to as "exploitation", a word engrained into our West Virginia heritage.

      Most staff members would happily come to school on snow days and work. After all, other occupations are expected to do that as well, as I am finding out in my present part-time job. I have no problem with that whatsoever. I always took full advantage of any snow day when allowed to work, but that only occurs once the school calendar has been adjusted for make-ups.

      It is because of limited budget $$$$$$$s, not some "teacher" or "teacher union-boss" that teachers are not called to work on snow days. Unlike many businesses, there is no overtime--everything is set in stone, including the budgets of our county school systems.

      As a retired educator, I think it would do us all well to take a step back, take a deep breath, read all of these comments, and understand the greatest problem facing this state: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

      To make our educational system successful all we need are teachers willing to teach, a student willing to learn, and parents willing to support the both of them in the process. When a failure in this sequence takes place, we arrive at our present circumstance. Folks, we are there.

      Pragmatically, however, it takes $$$$$ as well. In a state where employment opportunities are few and far between, those $$$$$ do not exist. We don't need to raise taxes for those $$$$$ but simply allocate smarter. Our Legi$lature seems more concerned about subsidizing tax breaks for the well-heeled rather than redirecting funds to more necessary and pressing needs like statewide economic development and opportunity, infrastructure, senior citizens, healthcare, and public and higher education.

      Just one man's opinion.

    • Tina

      You must not be a teacher or know one. Being a teacher myself -and knowing many others, I DO plan and grade papers on those snow days AT HOME. As a matter of fact, that is what I do on Saturday and Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and Thursday AT HOME on the evenings. Tax payers do get their money's worth out of me and more. I even pay taxes... that pay my own salary. So I am one of those tax payers you mentioned.

    • wvu999

      You win the most clueless poster award. Almost ALL counties make staff report on snow days. That is why there are different codes.
      Also, just because the news says a county is off doesnt mean that the staff isnt reporting. There are 6 or so days built into the calendar for snow days so if you make all staff report every snow day that will have them working 206 days. Im sure teachers will love to report all snow days and earn 6 extra days of pay.
      Any other uninformed comments you need straightened out just post them on here so those who work in the education field will be able to tell you have 0 clue of what you are talking about.
      Just FYI every snow day will be made up next year. That means teachers will never report snow days after this year because that would put them over their 200 day contract.

      • KLW5

        Actually, there are 8 OSE days built into my county's calendar and we do not have to make up those days. I am talking about actual snow days that affect the 200 day calendar. I believe you are just trying to find something to complain about. I'll tell you the same thing I've told others. Until you experience what it is like for yourself, you need to keep your "Opinions" to yourself. You are only showing others how inconsiderate and uninformed you are when it comes to this particular topic.

        • wvu999

          KLW5 are you posting that towards me? My comments were not directed to you. If they were then my comments would have been indented directly below yours. My comments were only indented once so they are for Zoey. That is how this works here. How it is indented tells you who the comments are direct towards or in reply of.

          I think you may need to reread my comments because we are pretty much on the same page.

          You have exactly 6 snow make up days. Not 8. Just for clarification. And the days in purple in your county are days used to make up snow days. The orange days with ** are outside the school calendar and are not part of your contract. Therefor since you are not paid for those days they cannot make you work them. They are not part of the 200 day contract.


          • KLW5

            New to site. Just an oversight. SORRY! I stayed late planning and was trying to comment quickly before leaving work.

    • KLW5

      We do go to school on snow days! Check out Raleigh counties Code A policy. But, I could do more planning and assessments at home, instead of wasting 2+ hours driving to work and back each snow day. Also, according to Senate Bill 359, all snow days will be made up in the summer. Teachers will be working 200 days a year and students will be in school 180 day a year.

  • Independent View

    The educational debate has raged for years and will continue so,here's a suggestion. Grant all of the frustrated teachers one-year sabbatical and with it they are required to accept a position within the corporate world directly related to their area of education and/ or training, at the higher prevaling salary for that corporate position. However, the teacher can voluntarily quit at any time during the 1 year period and he/she could be dismissed by the company if they fail to perform the duties normally expected of regular corporate employees in the same position, but in either incident, they would retain their teaching position.
    I would surmise that many would love the enhanced salaries that are available in the coporate sector, but quit in a short period of time and some would be dismissed due to a lack of performance and would be most happy to return to their little secure womb of academia.
    The difference? In the corporate/private sector higher salaries come with an important requirement not found in the education system---acountability.

    • wvu999

      Are you saying that teachers are not evaluated annually? If so then you are misinformed.

      Here is a bet View. Take it or leave it.
      Lets go to any mall in the state starting September 1st until June 1st (excluding holidays, snow days, weekends and breaks). For every day that there are less than 70 student age children in the mall I will give you $100. For every day that there are more than 70 student age children you give me $100. At the end of the bet I will promise you that I will have WAY more money than you. Same is true for a WalMart.

      You cant teach a child that is not in school.
      Students are not held accountable or a single test that is used to measure them against other schools, states and countries.
      When the test they take means something to students ONLY then should it also mean something to teachers.

    • a concerned educator

      Independent View

      Teachers should not and cannot be held accountable for poor parenting, truancy, or for ridiculous mandates brought down by legislators or board of education members who are appointed due to friendships with the governor.

      If teachers could be left to teach based on what they know, and not have to put up with asinine , unproven requirements (including the Common Core and WESTEST), then, and only then, will matters change. I am not saying that teachers should not be held accountable for being to work on time and for doing the best possible job, but there are many factors that teachers have no control over.

      • Leo

        Thank you!

  • Independent View

    I strongly disagree with your assement.
    "The teacher's lunch time is theirs and off of the clock, but the planning time is a part of the work day."
    Teachers are paid for an 8 hour work day. That 8 hour work day includes lunch period too. Check the math in determing an 8 hour work day. 8am until 3:00 or 3:30 is not an 8 hour work day, so lunch period is included in the calculation.
    Secondly, with all of the teachers and their supporters constantly posting how teachers take "work" home every night and spend their evenings as "planning sessions", it begs the question of why are planning sessions during instructional days even needed?
    There is a tried and true saying in the corporate/private sector that may apply here: "meetings are held as an excuse to avoid actual work"

    • KLW5

      Instruction is only as good as the planning put into it. If teachers do not plan adequately, the students do not get a high quality education. Teachers are not given all of the resources they need to teach the skills the students they must learn. Teachers must take the time necessary to research and find resources to help them teach these skills. They must keep track of the skills taught, review the skills previously taught, and determine what skills still need to be taught. This all must be done in a meaningful order. Take it from a special education teacher that attends many meetings. I have administrators schedule meetings during my LUNCH and planning on a regular basis. I do not get 40 minutes a day for planning on a good day. I am lucky to get 25. This means I do the bulk of my planning AT HOME. Most teachers I know come in to work between 7 and 7:30 and don't leave until 4 to 4:30. Do the math. We put in a full 8 hour day and still have to work at home. My husband does his job at work and gets to leave it there when he comes home. I bring boxes of work home with me almost daily. I think we deserve time to plan what to teach the students. I thought it was all about them getting a good education. Stop and really think about it. We must plan what to teach for the next full week. What skills do I need to work on, then what activities should I use to teach these skills? Then I have to grade papers and enter all information into the state's online program. But, wait, the program is down today so I will have to do that part tomorrow. And by the way, did I make my students spend 10 hours this week on the online programs the district requires? Did I pull this data for each individual student, see where they are struggling in each individual subject area, and then plan lessons to help reinforce these skills for individual students. It isn't just standing in front of a class spouting information. We put thought and consideration into what we teach our students because we CARE!!

    • a concerned educator

      As the spouse of a teacher, I can tell you that my spouse often works through lunch to complete required duties, including meetings, calling parents, helping sick children, and planning lessons. My spouse also has indicated that they would continue to attend meetings during the planning period, even if the bill is signed.

      Many teachers do bring work home, and they work on the weekends. They often do not get a planning period during the day due to SAT, 504, or IEP meetings which are state and federally mandated for students with disabilities. My spouse does not complain about these meetings; however, they do complain about the busy work that the WV Department of Education, as well as our county school board places on teachers and principals.

    • wvu999

      I am not going to go there with you because as your name stresses..... your VIEW is already determined.

      Trust me, I'm correct about the lunch period.

      Teacher envy on this site is off the charts.

      • a concerned educator


        I am not saying that lunch is not part of the work day, only that meetings during lunch and planning times are for valid reasons. For my job, and I am not a teacher, I often work during lunch.

        • WVTeacher

          I work during my lunch too... it's called LUNCH DUTY... um, did you forget that SOMEONE has to watch the lil' darlins'! In fact, today, I inhaled my lunch in 6 minutes because of my duty and other things that happened on the way from the cafeteria to my room... did I complain? No, did I whine and jump up and down b/c I didn't get my entitled "30 minutes of duty free lunch?" No, I inhaled some spaghetti and chugged some pepsi and prepared to teach my next class of students....

        • wvu999

          As a teacher I give up my lunch some as well. However, if you tell me I have to I wont. If you ask me to then I probably will. A good leader/principal can get their staff to go above and beyond what is law with a good professional working relationship.

          • a concerned educator


            Well said.

  • wvu999

    I am glad President Campbell and the AFT are taking the lead on this. There is clearly no conflict of interest on this bill for AFT. The AFT is the only education union that does not allow administrators to join. Principals and BOE staff are obviously in favor of this bill being vetoed. Other organizations must be torn on this one because they represent both sides of the fence.

  • Gary Karstens

    Basically principals and the state board want "collaboration" so that the good teachers can plan with the bad teachers. I don't blame good teachers for wanting to do this. It eventually becomes the principal dictating to all teachers how they want lessons planned. Principals should get back to good discipline in schools and let the teachers teach.

  • Woodchuck

    Does this law allow them to go to the video lottery parlor on their planning without signing out?

    • wvu999

      If you know of this happening then I would encourage you to inform the principal. The teacher's lunch time is theirs and off of the clock, but the planning time is a part of the work day. A good principal wouldnt let that happen during planning and it shouldnt be happening during lunch either.