Bill Reduces Influence Of Teacher Seniority

Bill Reduces Influence Of Teacher Seniority

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Pamela McDade teaches at Burroughs Elementary and has been teaching for 13 years and can't imagine doing anything else.

"My fifth grade teacher, she was my idol! I wanted to be her and now I am!"

Out of the 25 students she has, 15 requested to be in her class. She wants to make sure they get the best education possible.

"And I like to push them as hard as I can, I want to keep pushing until they give me 100%."

Teachers like McDade don't agree with a proposed state bill that recently passed both the House and Senate committees.

"Every school system in the state of Alabama has to have what's called a reduction-in-force policy. That's in case the economy goes down and the school system has to make cuts," says Alabama Educators Association Director Jesse McDaniel.

The proposed bill would create a state-wide policy all systems would have to abide by, and would practically make a teacher's seniority obsolete when deciding which teachers to cut, meaning tenure would not be a strong factor in deciding who gets to stay. It's something the Alabama Educators Association doesn't agree with.

"It would tell the local school boards here in southwest Alabama that you cannot consider seniority as a factor in your local employment decisions but you have to consider some amount of student test scores," says McDaniel.

"It's not fair to tie a teacher's job performance, or say we're going to be fired or anything like that based on our student's test scores. We teach what we have to teach but sometimes those tests don't align with that," says McDade.

In addition to the stress of having their job on the line, this not only affects teachers, but students as well since it does have the potential to change the way your student is taught.

"There will be a whole lot more that ‘let's just pass the test' thing. Other states have done that and it turns into the ‘let's teach the test' thing and we don't want that. I don't want that!"

The aim of the bill is to keep the affective teachers in place based on performance instead of seniority, however there is concern it may encourage teachers to inflate student's test scores.

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