Governor to propose ending continuing contracts for teachers and principles
From newsadvance.com in Lynchburg:
Teacher contracts and uranium mining will get Gov. Bob McDonnell’s attention during this General Assembly session.
McDonnell said he will ask legislators to require all teachers undergo performance reviews every year, and “remove the continuing contract status from teachers and principals.”
Instead, annual contracts would be offered to teachers, McDonnell said.
“This will allow us to implement an improved evaluation system that really works, and give principals a new tool” for managing schools, McDonnell said during his State of the Commonwealth speech to the Senate and House of Delegates.
Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County, said he expects to support many of the governor’s education-reform proposals, but the continuing-contract idea was a new one.
I don’t see doing away with continuing contracts as “teacher reform.” In the first place, principals aren’t on continuing contracts as principals. They are on continuing contract as teachers. Why does McDonnell think that yearly evaluation will make better teachers? A full evaluation, usually done triennially for continuing contract teachers is very time consuming on the part of the teacher and the evaluator. Why would taking away the aspect of a continuing contract make for better teachers? I say it would not.
The danger with removing the continuing contract component is that it leaves older teachers more vulnerable because they make the most money. An educational evaluation would be easy to manipulate for purposes of saving money.
Currently, new teachers are observed often during the first and second years and undergo a full evaluation each of those years. These probationary teachers do not have to be offered a contract and no reason needs to be given. This is the time to weed out those who should not be in the profession. It is also time to help those who fall short but who, with help in the rough areas, will make good teachers. The weeding often isn’t done and this is where the weeding is easy.
Many people think that continuing contract is ‘tenure’ and that the continuing contract teacher cannot be fired. This isn’t true. Continuing contract teachers can be fired. It is just more difficult and must be documented thoroughly. Again, many principals are just too lazy to do what needs to be done. Making it happen more often won’t improve teacher performance. It will just require more administrators to get the job done and administrators cost more money.
Once again, there are great plans made without knowing the full story. Does anyone remember the 150 minutes of phys ed a week that was proposed by the GA a year or 2 ago? What no one calculated was WHERE this PE was going to take place or how it would fit in to the existing school day. Many schools do not have inside play areas or gymnasiums. The GA had to drop this ridiculous plan like a hot potato. I expect this year’s teacher reforms proposal will also be dropped. It hasn’t been thought through with all ramifications considered.
The VEA will fight this one fiercely.