BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Senate has passed legislation that makes sure hiring, firing and tenure for teachers is based on how well they teach rather than how long theyâ€™ve taught.
â€śWhat this legislation does is it changes that order where we first look at the quality of a personâ€™s work and then we can show respect to how long theyâ€™re been there,â€ť said Jason Williams, the executive director at the Massachusetts branch of Stand For Children, a child advocacy group.
The bill is a compromise between the stateâ€™s largest teacherâ€™s union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Stand For Children. If the legislation is approved this session (July 31), Stand For Children will drop their campaign to get a November ballot question out that will let the state decide on several other matters affecting teachers.
â€śThe ballot question is not an option,â€ť said Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teacherâ€™s Association. â€śIt was going to eliminate Professional Teacher Status for part-time teachers, it was going to really blur the distinction between non-professional teachers and professional status teachers.â€ť
The compromise bill allows unions and school districts to keep their collective bargaining power in layoff decisions. It also requires principals to consult with superintendents in â€śgood faithâ€ť when a teacher is transferred to another school, with performance outweighing seniority in their talks.
â€śThe work that out teachers do everyday it matters, it makes a difference and it should count,â€ť said Williams.
â€śExperience should be an important factor as well, it just shouldnâ€™t be the first factor that is looked at,â€ť said Toner.
The bill must pass the House of Representative and be signed by the governor. If it accomplishes that, teacher performance will begin trumping seniority by 2016.
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