On Monday, the Senate passed House Bill 805 (The Protect Excellent Teachers Act) by a vote of 26-22. It now awaits a signature from the Governor to become law. Below is a compilation of reactions from business and education leaders who have been supporting this legislation for nearly 2 years.
We are encouraged by the General Assembly’s action on this common-sense reform that would permit school boards to make furlough decisions based on merit and not based solely on a teacher’s years of service. We will be encouraging our supporters to contact the Governor and ask him to act on behalf of students and excellent educators by signing this important piece of legislation. A news conference will be held on Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center.
Please feel free to reach out to any of us if you would like to discuss further.
Steve Robinson, PSBA, 717-506-2450
David Patti, PBC, 717-329-7207
Jim Buckheit, PASA, 717-540-4448
Jonathan Cetel, PennCAN, 215-704-4880
Jacob Waters, PSAP, 609-658-8147
Nathan Mains, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) –
“PSBA applauds leaders in the General Assembly for their efforts to advance this common sense legislation to the Governor’s desk. School districts need additional tools and flexibility to manage costs, retain their best educators, and be responsive to the needs of the students. PSBA believes that effective teachers and the students they teach deserve better. We urge the governor to sign this bill immediately to give school districts the tools they need to operate more effectively.”
David Patti, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council –
“To be competitive in the 21st Century global economy, Pennsylvania firms need the best-prepared workforce. This means keeping our very best teachers in the classroom. The Pennsylvania Business Council is very pleased the General Assembly has passed legislation that makes merit and skill the most important criteria for the tough decisions about economic furloughs. All teachers should be respected. Neither seniority nor cost should be the driving factors in furlough decisions. Our students and the quality of their education have to be our first priority.”
Jim Buckheit, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) –
“House Bill 805 takes the important and long overdue step to provide school districts authority to adjust the number of professional educators each employs based on available resources while protecting and keeping its best educators in the classroom. These are reasonable changes to long-outdated state requirements that most other states never had or eliminated long ago.”
Jonathan Cetel, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN) –
“The current seniority-based system leads to the furlough of effective educators and does not value an educator’s impact on kids. In the unfortunate case of a reduction in force, this legislation will help schools protect excellent teachers and keep them in the classroom. House Bill 805 strikes a balance; while it prioritizes performance, it also permits seniority to be used as a tie-breaker for decision-making at the local level.”
Mike Wang, Executive Director of the Philadelphia School Advocacy Partners –
“With the commonsense changes contained in House Bill 805, Philadelphia schools will have the ability to keep their best teachers in the unfortunate case of layoffs. The current law is outdated and out of step with what principals, parents, and young teachers want. If we are serious about providing all kids access to quality schools, we need to start by keeping the best teachers in the classroom.”