EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSEDUCATION REFORM
from Eyewitness News Online
Education Reform Gains Bi-Partisan Support But Some Say It Falls Short
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Feb. 26, 2013 7:57 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 27, 2013 9:27 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Education reform is expected to dominate the Legislative session and on Tuesday the State Senate starting working on Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's education bill.
The bill is receiving bi-partisan support, although some Republicans say it falls short of "real reform."
"I think we need to go further, I don't think we address things like charter pay, merit pay, locality pay and truly returning control of the school system to the local entities, that's where education happens the best," Senator Mitch Carmichael, a Republican from Jackson County, said.
There are several proposals in the bill, but the major issues deal with changing the way teachers are hired - seniority would no longer be as big a factor as it is now and faculty senates could weigh in on the candidates - it would also give counties more control of their calendar and require 180 days of instruction.
The proposals come after an audit of the state's education system found its highly bureaucratic and not working.
"Its a really strong bill that focuses on student achievement, it doesn't always necessarily put every need of the teacher up front because its time now that we start putting the needs of the students first and that's what this bill does," Senator Erik Wells, a Democrat from Kanawha County who is the Vice Chair of the Education Committee, said.
Teachers unions don't like the proposal. Dale Lee with the WV Education Association calls it a terrible piece of legislation. He says he fears giving localities more control and changing the hiring practices would return the state to the days of cronyism.
The Senate Education Committee discussed the bill today and a vote is planned for next Thursday, but getting out of that committee is just the first step.
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