Regional News

Bill would make radical change in teachers layoffs

By Associated Press
Jan 28, 2011

The sponsor of a bill that would make teacher effectiveness the main determining factor during layoffs says the proposal is worth billions of dollars in school improvement.

But the president of the state's largest teachers union wonders why lawmakers are spending time on distractions like this proposal when they should instead be focusing on how to avoid teacher layoffs in the first place.

Mary Lindquist of the Washington Education Association says lawmakers started last year to move toward a new teacher evaluation system. This new approach likely will change the way school districts lay off teachers. But Lindquist says school administrators and teachers need time to develop the new system. She says Sen. Rodney Tom's proposal would get in the way of that work.

Tom's bill, SB 5399 states that to insure that teachers who do the best work are the ones who keep their jobs when budgets need to be cut, schools will base reductions in force policies on evaluations of teacher performance, rather than seniority. And that when reductions in the workforce occur due to enrollment decline or revenue loss, the employment contracts of any certificated classroom teachers who received the lowest evaluation rating must have their contracts nonrenewed first.

Tom says in order for Washington schools to be great places to teach and learn - where all kids - schools must build cultures where all students thrive. He said, "Educators deserve to be recognized for their ability to help students learn and children deserve the very best and brightest teachers."

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