Andrew Calkins of Publicola is reporting at the blog post, Teachers Union Fights Democratic Legislators on Education Bills that the Washington Education Association is targeting Washington State Senator Rodney Tom and Representative Eric Pettigrew. Guess what, that is politics and that is their right. BUT, if you support education reform, you need to call or email these legislators to let them know you support education reform. This is an excerpt from Publicola:
State Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue) and Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, S. Seattle) are pushing education reform legislation backed by the Excellent Schools Now coalition – which includes the Washington State PTA, the League of Education Voters, Washington Alliance of Black School Educators, and the Waiting for Superman crowd at Stand for Children—that would require the upcoming layoffs of 1,500 teachers to be made without regard to seniority and instead be determined by principal evaluations of teachers.
The bills haven’t received a public hearing yet, but already the state teachers union, the Washington Education Association (WEA), is lining up against the proposed reform legislation….
Wood said that “SB 5399 and HB 1609 restrict local decision-making about teacher staffing and force all 295 school districts to follow the same general policy for layoffs and teacher job assignments, regardless of their local needs.” He adds: “Most current contracts use teacher experience as a factor in staffing decisions, but qualifications and subject matter also are used,” arguing that the new evaluation system would harm student learning.
The teachers union also has a secondary set of grounds for opposition.
Wood pointed out that the Pettigrew-Tom proposals would “undermine the good work that teachers are already doing” to develop new forms of teacher evaluations. Senate Bill 6696, passed during the 2010 session, set up pilot programs in 17 school districts across the state. Teachers support these current pilot programs, but oppose the Tom and Pettigrew proposals, Wood said because they would distract from last year’s pilot program.
There’s some irony here. Wood’s WEA was actually forced to accept the pilot program last year rather than the alternative—revamping the whole evaluation system, as reformers like the PTA proposed. WEA opposition killed the evaluation reform, keeping the very one Wood’s criticizning now, the principal evaluations, in place. That decision hurt Washington State’s application to get Race to the Top funding from the Obama administration.
The League Of Education Voters, a member of the Excellent Schools Now coalition, points out that the bill would not affect ongoing pilot projects.
Wood admitted the proposal would not directly interfere with the current projects, but called the proposals a “distraction” that amounts to a “one size fits all” policy that would “impose standard policy for many school district’s staffing decisions.”
Here is the contact information:
Senator Rodney Tom
Senator Rodney Tom
(D) 48th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
220 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40448
Olympia, WA 98504-0448
Higher Education & Workforce Development
Early Learning & K-12 Education
Ways & Means
Representative Eric Pettigrew
Rep. Eric Pettigrew
Majority Caucus Chair
(D) 37th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
434B Legislative Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Health & Human Services Appropriations & Oversight
Ways & Means
These really are the good guys.
Dr. Wilda may be contacted at email@example.com
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