The House of Delegates has approved legislation to make it easier to remove public school teachers from their jobs.
The House voted 55-43 Monday to pass the measure. It would gradually move teachers and principals from continuing contracts, which are akin to tenure, to three-year contracts that would not be automatically renewed. Teachers would be evaluated annually, and after three years they could be removed with no reason given.
The three-year contracts would apply only to new hires.
Del. Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, a high school government teacher, said there are bad teachers working, and students are the ones who suffer. But Del. Jeion (GEE'-ahn) Ward, president of the Hampton Federation of Teachers, said it's not hard to get rid of a bad teacher under the current system.
Here is a statement from Governor McDonnell:
“I have long said that a child’s educational opportunities should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not her zip code. It is critical that we are preparing our young people for the highly-skilled, high-paying jobs of the 21st century – and that starts with getting a good education. A good education starts in the classroom, with great teachers instructing our children. Here in Virginia, we are fortunate have a world-class educational system with world-class teachers. However, until we can guarantee every student in Virginia a quality education, our work is not done. That is why, this year, we are advancing legislation through our ‘Opportunity to Learn’ agenda that establishes a three-year term contract and evaluation process for teachers and principals to enhance professional development opportunities and reward good teachers. This legislation will recognize our teachers for their success; provide teachers and administrators with benchmarking and performance measures; and, in the end, yield better results for our students. I am pleased that the House of Delegates recognizes the importance of this legislation that will ensure our students have access a world-class education taught by Virginia’s best teachers. I also want to thank Delegate Dickie Bell for his leadership in guiding this legislation through the House of Delegates.”