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State Teachers Union Officials: "Education Reform Bill Could Be The Ugliest Bill In 30 Years"
Written by Andrew Forgotch
Last updated on February 27, 2013 @ 7:27PM
Created on February 27, 2013 @ 5:58PM
 
Earlier this week 5 News reported that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin introduced a bill to the Senate that called for sprawling education reform in the Mountain State.
 
That bill, Senate Bill 359, follows a wide-ranging audit done on the state's education system. The goal of that audit was to find ways to save money and bolster test scores.
 
At least one group of folks aren't too happy with what that bill suggests.
 
West Virginia teachers union leaders have blasted it, and some have even gone on record calling it "probably the ugliest bill in 30 years".
 
Their biggest complaint is that it doesn't listen to any suggestions that came out of that audit.
 
In the 179-page bill, Tomblin asks for a change in the way the state sets public school calendars and he also wants to require pre-kindergarten classes across the Mountain State.
 
Officials with the teacher's union told 5 News on Wednesday that it does nothing to address the biggest problem cited by the audit, which claimed the education system is top heavy and has too many administrators.
 
Instead, they claim the bill comes with a lot of changes that aren't good for teachers.
 
Sam Brunett, the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Monongalia County, said it also takes away the role seniority plays in the hiring process for teachers. He also said he's upset because the bill asks for teachers to work beyond their 43-week contract period.
 
Brunett mentioned if this bill goes through our state is going to have a tough time finding quality teachers who will want to work here.
 
"West Virginia is already ranked 49th in the nation in pay (for teachers)," Brunett said. "They're looking at pay cuts with this proposed bill by not paying for holidays."
 
Brunett also said the bill also calls for a cut in the amount of planning time teachers get, which is another thing he said teachers value. He also said it opens the way for Teach For America to come the Mountain State.
 
Teach for America allows folks with any type of degree to teach for one year in a school.

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