New bill would give principals more flexibility to fire displaced teacherson February 1, 2013 @ 12:41 pm (Updated: 1:39 pm - 2/1/13 )
Senator Steve Litzow, chair of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education, says he was prompted by new state rules which will require schools be graded on their performance starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
"The feedback I've received from principals are, 'If you're going to hold me accountable to this, then I need more flexibility in creating my own team that's best for my community,'" Litzow told the committee on Friday.
Teachers can be displaced for a variety of reasons. If their program is cut, the size of school enrollment drops or a school board decides to change their staffing formula, a teacher may be forced to move.
Under current bargaining agreements with teachers' unions, they are generally guaranteed continued employment at a different school in the same district.
Seattle public school teacher Kristine Bailey Fogerty told the Education Committee, some teachers feel entitled to a new job when an old one dries up.
She recalled a conversation she had with one displaced teacher who said he didn't know where his next job would take him and he didn't really care.
"That bothered me. We have a terribly broken system if we have a system where teachers who don't care are rewarded with the great privilege and the great responsibility of having a classroom full of children," said Fogerty.
She told the panel good teachers would have no problem finding a new job. What she loves most about Senate Bill 5242 is that it expects teachers to be hirable.
The Washington Education Association argued the bill would give principals absolute veto power. The WEA's Lucinda Young said that's not fair to teachers.
"We also believe this legislation will provide chaos for HR departments at best, and at worst it will create legal and financial liabilities for districts," said Young.
The proposal would require a one-year grace period for teachers to try and find a new position before the non-renewal process could begin.
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