EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSEDUCATION REFORM
from Eyewitness News Online
Education Reform Bill Clears Hurdle In Senate
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Mar. 12, 2013 6:52 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 13, 2013 8:34 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The Governor's education reform bill cleared a big hurdle Tuesday, making it out of the Senate Education Committee.
Teachers unions rallied against the bill prior to the vote but it passed with little resistance.
The committee met in front of a packed house, so full that dozens had to wait in the hallway as they took up the bill which was prompted by a scathing audit of the state's school system, which found the state is failing.
Senators made some amendments to the bill but it passed with very few major changes.
The biggest proposals still intact include the teacher hiring practices. Seniority would no longer play such a large role and school faculty senates would have say in the process. In the bill, counties are also given more control of their calendars and Teach for American and other similar programs would be allowed to come into the state.
Those are the parts of the bill that teachers unions have been fighting.
Members of the American Federation of Teachers gathered at the Capitol Tuesday morning to speak out ahead of the vote but had no success.
"We're very disappointed, some of the most egregious parts are there, they left the hiring part in there so it's the 'friends and family plan'," Aft President Judy Hale says.
The state's superintendent of schools supports the bill saying it will improve student achievement.
"I think it's good, it makes sense, it's good for kids and I think when we get on the other side of this we're going to improve student achievement in the state of West Virginia," Jim Phares says.
Tuesday's vote was just the first hurdle. The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee, then to the full senate. Once it makes it through the Senate, the House will get its chance to work the bill and propose any changes.
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