Pa. Senate Votes to Protect Great Teachers

Pa. Senate Votes to Protect Great Teachers

Gov. Wolf Urged to Sign Bill Ending Archaic Last-In-First-Out Policy

May 9, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—In a victory for public school students and teachers, the state Senate today voted to end Pennsylvania’s last-in-first-out policy and finally give excellent teachers the protection their performance deserves.

House Bill 805, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Bloom, passed the House last June. The bill would ensure that during furloughs, teachers are retained based on their effectiveness, not merely on their seniority.

“Across the political spectrum, people agree children deserve access to the highest quality teachers,” commented James Paul, senior policy analyst with the Commonwealth Foundation. “For too long, exceptional teachers have been told their job performance matters less than the number of years they’ve been teaching. This is no way to treat our best teachers or to ensure the best education for schoolchildren. This bill would give great teachers the protection their performance deserves.”

Under the legislation, teachers would be evaluated based on the statewide evaluation system adopted last year, which rated 98.2 percent of teachers as “distinguished” or “proficient.” The bill would protect these teachers from being furloughed in favor of teachers with longer tenures but “failing” or “needs improvement” ratings. Seniority would remain the tiebreaker if teachers have equal ratings.

“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have thousands of great teachers,” Paul continued. “Excellent teachers should not be sacrificed to protect those with greater seniority. Ironically, the most vocal advocates for our current broken system are union leaders who would rather protect the status quo than protect great teachers.

“Today’s vote is a significant step in the right direction. We applaud the Senate for taking this stand and urge Governor Wolf to sign this important reform.”

James Paul is available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

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