actionalertThe teacher layoff bill is back, and it's even worse than before. It goes far beyond the original bill.

Senators Rodney Tom and Joe Zarelli are making one more attempt to take away the rights and respect of teachers in our state. They are the sole sponsors of SB 5914 , which they titled "Excellent Teachers for every Student Act."

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It goes far beyond the original bill. Senators Rodney Tom and Joe Zarelli are making one more attempt to take away the rights and respect of teachers in our state. They are the sole sponsors of SB 5914 , which they titled "Excellent Teachers for every Student Act."

They introduced this bill well after the deadline for policy bills. It is being heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, April 6, at 12:30 p.m. We need a strong showing of educators to attend and testify.



SB 5914 does the following:




1)      Lay off teachers according to their evaluations, by non-renewing those with the lowest evaluation rating first. Said teachers must be recalled in the reverse order of layoff. Board policies and bargaining agreements must be adjusted.




2)      No teacher can be assigned to a school in the lowest tier of the State Board of Education's accountability index unless agreed to by the hiring principal.  Board policy and bargaining agreements must be adjusted.




3)      Adds a section to the dismissal law saying a teacher must be fired if within a 5 year time period they have 3 years without clear improvement after professional development and mentoring. The principal must find this to be detrimental to the student academic performance.  It does not define clear improvement. The decision of the board of directors to terminate the contract of a teacher is final and not subject to appeal.




4)      After two years of receiving the bonus, National Board Certified Teachers must be evaluated by their principal as a "top tier" teacher in order to keep receiving the bonus. The compensation work group established in HB 2261 must examine the NBCT bonuses.




5)      The bill eliminates any column requiring more than 45 credits (Masters and higher) except in mathematics, science or special education. The limits years of experience to eight, with an intent section indicating teachers with more years of experience do not impact student learning. While fiscal savings from this remain in compensation, 70% of the savings will be directed to performance by based on evaluations, and 30% based on the school accountability index.




6)      Finally, the bill reduces the base salary allocation for those grandfathered school districts with allocations above the minimum salary identified in the SAM.




Key points for media and members:




·         This bill is a last-minute sneak attack on teachers, and it has nothing to do with strengthening public schools.


·         It's an insult to the education profession and represents a complete lack of understanding about the challenges our public schools face. The real problem is $2 billion in budget cuts.


·         Like the earlier bill, SB 5914 undermines the evaluations pilots and distorts the purpose of evaluation to strengthen teaching.


·         This bill sends exactly the wrong message to our students: It devalues the importance of additional education.


·         In every other profession, education and experience are respected and rewarded. SB 5914 discourages teachers from making teaching a profession and it discourages them from achieving advanced education.


·         Just like the earlier layoff bill, SB 5914 does nothing to prevent teachers from being laid off, and it forces school districts to adopt one-size-fits all approach to school staffing decisions, overriding local decision making and the role of locally elected school boards.


·         The bill cuts pay for teachers in many school districts.


·         It eliminates fair dismissal procedures for teachers identified under #3.


·         SB 5914 is not based on sound research, and teachers were not included in the drafting of the bill.


·         At a time our students are going to be hurt by $2 billion in state budget cuts, we should be working on ways to protect the quality of education in the classroom. Instead, this bill attacks teachers and is unworkable, unfair and unnecessarily divisive.