CHARLESTON, WV – During the 2013 Legislative Session, the Legislature gave the teachers of West Virginia a voice by enacting SB 359. For the first time in West Virginia history, teachers were given the opportunity to have a say in who would be most qualified to join their teaching team. Through the development of SB359, all stakeholders were brought to the table and their concerns were addressed making this bill a well balanced approach to education reform. Teachers were given the tools necessary to assemble the best possible teaching team. HB 4394 would take that power away from teachers and principals and revert back to the hiring practices of the past when teachers had no voice. In essence, the change would remove the hiring reforms enacted by SB 359 in 2013. These hiring reforms were recommended by the audit of West Virginia's education system.
“It is disheartening to know that after all the work we did to give teachers a voice, they were not even given a full year to participate before changes were introduced,” said Delegate Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia). “I appreciate the Governor’s Office and the Department of Education for sharing our concerns about the proposed changes so early in the reform process. I have personally heard from teachers and principals that they like the changes we made last year and do not want the current process to change.”
“We worked hard last session and came to what, we thought, was an honorable agreement,” stated Delegate Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson). “There is no need to change any part of the reform package until we have had a fair chance to see if it works. Furthermore, why change something that the teachers and principals want?”
“The Republican members of the House Education Committee remain committed to protecting teachers’ voice in the hiring process. We will fight to keep the current model in place and any changes that would threaten the teachers’ ability to have a say in hiring the most qualified candidate,” added Delegate Pasdon.