Big news breaking this Monday: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin‘s much-anticipated education reform bill was released this morning and will be introduced in the House of Delegates and State Senate this afternoon.
Dave got a chance to look over the bill this morning, and found it completely eliminates a section of state law on teacher hiring practices, and also would open West Virginia’s education system to Teach For America and other alternative certification programs.
As Dave writes, seniority currently is a big part of the hiring process for teachers.
School administrators have complained they are hamstrung by current code, forced to hire solely on the basis of who has the most seniority.
“There’s no leeway for them to hire on any other indicators that may be relevant to the position, so we want to make sure that is a possibility,” Mason said.
Right now there are two segments in state law that address hiring practices: one for hiring teachers and one for all other positions.
The law lists seven criteria for hiring teachers: appropriate certification or licensure; total amount of teaching experience; the existence of teaching experience in the required certification area; degree level in the required certification area; specialized training directly related to the performance of the job as stated in the job description; receiving an overall satisfactory rating in the previous two job evaluations; and seniority.
Tomblin’s bill eliminates that entire section of the law. It instead changes the code so that it applies to all “vacancies in professional positions of employment.” That portion already had six criteria for hiring, which are similar but not as specific as the code relating to teachers. Seniority would be added as an additional consideration under the Tomblin bill.
As we learned last week, the Senate is expected to get the first shot at Tomblin’s education bill.
I’m working on a story about looming sequestration cuts and the effects they would have on West Virginia. Sen. Joe Manchin‘s office is expected to release a report later today detailing all the ways the automatic spending cuts would affect the Mountain State. The White House also is having a 2:30 phone conference with reporters to discuss the cuts.
Earlier this morning I talked with Lt. David Lester of the West Virginia National Guard, who said 55 Guardsmen statewide would be laid off if the sequester goes through, and more than 900 would be furloughed. Most of the laid-off worker would be aircraft technicians.
“We’ve got guys, we’ll be able to cover the slack. But anytime you lose maintenance positions like that…it’s going to have an effect,” Lester told me.
Look for a full story on sequestration-related cuts soon on www.charlestondailymail.com.
Last Friday I wrote that Rep. David McKinley was “tempted by the devil” to run against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in her 2014 Senate campaign, but ultimately decided against it. Today’s paper features a longer version of that story, including McKinley’s thoughts on the Grand Old Party’s public relations problem and the lack of communication among West Virginia’s congressional delegation.
McKinley said West Virginia’s representatives and senators have met only once during his two and a half years in office.
And while he occasionally has dinner with Sen. Joe Manchin and talks with Capito and Rep. Nick Rahall on the House floor every day, McKinley said the group never sits down in the same room to discuss issues.
He said he would like to get all of West Virginia’s federal lawmakers together at least once a quarter.
“I don’t know whose role it is to pull it together. But we ought to be doing it that way,” he said. “I’m too old to be fussing around with people who can’t talk with each other.”
Also today, Dave writes about a state law requiring businesses to give fired employees their final paycheck within 72 hours of their last work day. Businesses are subject to steep fines in they go beyond that window.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin wants to change that law and, last Friday, had bills introduced in both the House and the Senate to allow employers to deliver that final paycheck either within the 72-hour window or “no later than the next regular payday,” explained Amy Shuler Goodwin, the governor’s spokeswoman.
Read Dave’s full story here.