Heartland Education Experts Applaud Pennsylvania’s Teacher Furlough Reform Bill
The Pennsylvania House passed on Monday the Protecting Excellent Teachers Act (HB 805), which allows school districts to consider merit, not just seniority, when making decisions about teacher furloughs. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf (D).
The following statements from education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“A rigid seniority system for tenured teachers is a significant part of what keeps public education mired in mediocrity. By vowing to veto a just-passed bill that would ease application of the insidious ‘last hired, first fired’ rule just a little, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is doing the bidding of one of his party’s fattest-cat benefactors, the teacher unions. Only when parents can choose the best educational services for their children within a marketplace devoid of protectionism for incompetence will Americans have truly world-class education for all.”
“This legislation is pure common sense. Students should not be forced to suffer through incompetent teachers simply because they have been employed at the school longer than those who are outperforming them. This bill will incentivize teachers to improve, creating a learning environment that is much more beneficial to children. It’s high time the education system adopts the same practices that enable businesses in the private sector to excel.”
“Using teacher quality as the driver for teacher dismissals is common sense. If providing a quality education is the goal, it should be a given that bad teachers are removed from the classroom before good teachers.”
“Pennsylvania’s HB 805 brings true accountability to public education. The debate over the best way to rate teachers should continue, but the simple fact is that lower-rated teachers should be laid off to make way for better-performing ones.”
“Being able to lay off your worst-performing and most unproductive employees is a common-sense practice. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is allowed to be immune to common sense. Time and again we hear stories of great, effective teachers being let go because seniority rules demand they be laid off before their long-serving and poorer-performing peers. All this bill does is return a common-sense practice to the PSEA. I hope Gov. Wolf has the good sense to sign it.”
“In theory, Pennsylvania’s HB 805 would enable school districts to retain teachers based on teacher ratings. Sounds good. But such a system needs careful attention lest those teacher ratings become rigged for favored insiders. It is a good proposal but it needs careful monitoring.”
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