Public Comments for: HB9 - Public school teachers; probationary term of service, grounds for dismissal, and dismissal hearings.
Please vote no on HB9. This bill would not attract new teachers to the profession and puts additional undue burden on current teachers. We should be focusing on education and training of educators rather than limiting their opportunities. Teachers in their first few years are learning the ropes and need quality training and mentorship. Only one person (the principal or evaluator) is the judge of how a teacher is doing, which is not a fair approach when evaluations are open to subjectivity. There should be 3 persons at a teacher dismissal hearing rather than allowing one person to dismiss an employee with no oversight. Any dismissal should be based on facts that are agreed upon by multiple parties.
As a public school educator and life long Virginia resident, I urge you to opposed HB9. In a time when our schools are in the midst of a crisis, this bill only serves as a method to scare potential educators away from the field. Instead of writing threatening bills, I suggest you put your efforts into providing more resources to our schools to help better equip educators to improve their craft. In my classroom, if a student continues to be unsuccessful, I do not kick them out. I look for other ways to reach that child. I work with my colleagues to find alternative methods or offer remediation. Passing a bill that makes it easier to fire a teacher instead of providing remediation is the wrong approach.
This is nothing more or less than an attempt to make it easier and faster to fire teachers and for less cause. This bill, when viewed along with Executive Action 1, sends a threatening message that teachers must to say only what the State allows them to say and that they are being carefully watched by their Virginia Government overlords- the exact opposite of the historical Republican position of individual freedoms and limited government interference. This will strongly discourage teachers from entering or remaining in Virginia, much less the profession. Therefore, I oppose HB9 in the strongest possible terms.
It is unfair to teachers that a single individual will replace the 3-person panel during a dismissal hearing. I oppose this bill. Teachers face an unfair amount of "accountability" on a daily basis. They should be represented fairly by more than the perspective of one "judge".
I OPPOSE HB9
As an educator I believe we should be providing more opportunities for educators, not limiting opportunities. This policy will not attract potential teachers, but rather make them more reluctant to join the profession. What research suggests that this change in policy will yield positive outcomes for students?
As an educator I believe we should be providing more opportunities for educators, not limiting opportunities. This policy will not attract potential teachers, but rather make them more reluctant to join the profession. What research suggests that this change in policy will yield positive outcomes for students?
I highly encourage the committee to vote against HB9, increase educator probationary period from 3 to 5 years. This bill defeats all the work toward encouraging more educators to stay or join this profession. Educators have been given so many obstacles that make them feel as though their expertise is constantly in question. The amount of extra paperwork and stress this causes new educators is also a huge factor in retention. Please vote NO on HB9 and support your educators.
HB127 - The reforms to the admissions policies at TJ increase the equity of the process. These reforms should be kept in place for this reason. This bill would adversely influence equity at many schools, not just TJ. HB4 - In all cases in which disciplinary measures can be taken by the school personnel, I believe they should be handled by school personnel, including teachers, guidance counselors, and psychologists. These are our children. They are not criminals. The role of police in schools should be as minimal as possible. HB781 - Children should be taught the facts of history, including the history of the US, as accurately as possible, whether it shows that history in a favorable or unfavorable light. One of the most important thing of all that we can teach our children is to always seek the truth. HB9 - This bill would limit our ability to recruit and retain teachers exactly when there is an increasing need to do so. There is very little difference in what one can ascertain about someone's performance between 3 and 5 years. It would make more sense to provide regular status reviews throughout a teacher's entire tenure which are tied to salary and other benefits.
Dear House Education Committee, My name is Tyvon Bates, and on behalf of American Federation of Teachers Virginia, I am writing to urge you to oppose HB 9 chief patroned by Delegate Ware. I hope you will join me in opposing HB 9. Thank you,
HB8- This bill seems to be attempting to address security shortfalls within our schools, however, the intent of this bill is lost in it's wording. If this is an attempt to introduce "armed mentors" into the schools, selected from the veteran community, I must oppose this unless there be a stipulation that such mentors be from the local community where the school resides. Without the benefit of shared experience, 'deputized' security officers may end up escalating rather than resolving student issues. I also oppose the idea of putting armed guards inside schools. The ACTUAL risk to students of a school shooting is comparatively small compared to other risks experienced by students such as mental health concerns. HB9 - Virginia is having a difficult time recruiting and retaining teaching staff. While we spent the first months of the Pandemic praising our teachers, the tone, once the Pandemic became politicized, has become hostile. Virginia should be doing all it can to attract new teachers to the profession. HB9 is a direct attack on new teachers and would be a disincentive to rising students from entering the teaching profession. The current standards are sufficient without this bill. I would like to recommend a closer look at administrative staff qualifications however. In Chesterfield County, for example, we had an educator promoted to a logistics and operations leadership role for which he had no known qualification. The continued challenges with managing our Busses are a result. Perhaps the House can look into making administrative postings more relevant to the skills required.
I am a strong teacher supporter. There is already a massive teacher shortage that continues to get worse with COVID. The Midlothian district can not afford to loose any teachers right now since they are leaving voluntarily. This is the last thing education needs right now. Thank you.
Please reconsider extending the probationary period for teachers from 3 to 5 years. Public education continues to be one of the most difficult and important professions in our country. Teachers work long hours, get marginal compensation, and are increasingly caught in the middle of polarized communities. It is more difficult than it has been in a long time to find qualified teaching candidates, please do not add another obstacle. Thank you for your public service, time, and consideration.
Please vote NO on HB9. This is my fifth year of teaching. I know that every teacher's experience is different, but I felt that I was ready to take on any challenge thrown at me after year 3 (and with this pandemic, I have!). Increasing the probationary period would be detrimental to our profession because of the increased workload for administrators and new teachers (remember, many teachers leave within the first 5 years--we don't want that number any bigger with one more thing on their plates), and the limiting nature of the probationary period in terms of career advancement and transfers.
Please do not vote to pass HB9. This is detrimental to the goal of employing competent teachers in public schools in Virginia. Thanks.
Please vote NO on HB9
This is an unfair and uneccesary demand to put on first year teachers. We are having a difficult enough time keeping qualified teachers and this will just run more of them out of the classroom. Three years, is too long to determine if a teacher can teach, five years is insane.
Teaching is a profession; individuals spend their own money, time and effort in college to become dedicated teachers. Teaching is a demanding field and it takes several years for beginning teachers to sharpen their curriculum skills, create quality teaching methods and develop effective classroom management skills. YEARS, not weeks, not months, not days! Virginia must invest in the individual teachers to create a highly qualified teaching workforce! Virginia needs to support new teachers 100% and help these individuals grow as professionals and not throw them under punitive evaluation systems that arbitrarily lead to dismissals. Every profession, doctor, nurse, fire fighter, police officer, architect, business administrator, etc, etc... requires the inviduals to devote years to mastering their skills and becoming effective on the job; teaching is the same . Talk to the veteran teachers about how their teaching skills have improved and grown over the years and they will share how much time and effort went into this career and how they learned from their mentors, students, parents and schools. Teachers are in the business of learning and every teacher is capable of "learning" to become better. To be dismissed within the first five years without cause is a recipe for disaster.... How will this policy encourge young college students to invest four years or more of their education into teacher training, if they know they can be dismissed for up to 5 years with no CAUSE? Virginia is suffering severly from a teacher shortage and this dismiss for no reason policy will exacerbate the shortage and lead to ineffective bandaids, like emergency teacher certification programs that last weeks instead of years. Virginia will be forced to hire unqualified adults to teach, because the candidate pool with shrink. Are we setting the stage for Teach for Awhile "teachers" to spend two years in the classroom after 6 weeks of summer training? Are we sending the message to our Virginia universities that we don't want the best and brightest teaching in our classrooms, because the state will not support you while you're learning your trade? This bill is misguided and show deep disdain for teachers and public schools. Virginia needs strong, fully funded public schools and it begins with highly qualified teachers dedicated to their students and communities. Say no to HB9
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on HB9. I am an educator with 17 years teaching experience living in Fredericksburg, VA. I also am a parent of a fifth grader and seventh grader. I oppose HB9 which would give all local school boards the option to increase the probationary term of service for public school educators from three to five years. This legislation would eliminate the option of a three-member fact finding panel, and reduces written notices of a hearing from 10 to five days. These requirements are not supportive of teachers or respectful of us as professionals. There is a local, state, and national teacher shortage crisis happening right now which has been worsening. This is not a way to support teachers and encourage them to stay in the profession. Thank you for your consideration. Emily Taylor, MA Education
Hello, Teaching is one of the most difficult professions out there, but with the added burden of those who have never taught thinking it's easy. And it IS a profession, like doctors or lawyers, requiring years of education, tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, and constant continuing education to stay current. Yet, you'd never expect that based on the pay. We are one of the few developed democracies in the world who don't treat teaching like the profession it is. Teachers routinely work 60-hour weeks with zero overtime pay and, contrary to popular belief, they are not paid for summer vacation; instead their ten month pay is spread out across 12 months. I know many teachers who work summer school or 2nd jobs. With all of this in mind, you are actively deciding to make teachers' lives harder, by making them constantly in fear for their jobs at a time when many were already afraid and facing extraordinary challenges brought on by the Covid crisis. By prolonging uncertainty by extending the probationary period, and lowering the notice of dismissal, you are adding unnecessary stress to what is already one of the most stressful jobs in the country. I don't expect you to listen to this. I expect that you have already made your choice based on what party you worship. So, knowing that real discussion, debate, and empirical evidence can, sadly, no longer change minds in this day and age, I come to you not because I hope to change anything, but because there's nothing else I can do. Education in America is dying. Education, the first line of defense, more important than guns, tanks, and carriers, is dying in America. Without education, a supposedly modern nation cannot hope to survive in today's world. Please, don't hasten its demise.
My name is Catherine Breese. I have been a public school teacher for 29 years, serving in 5 different school districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a lifetime teacher, I have seen from the inside the way schools in Virginia work. School systems (particularly those in the southwest of the state where I now teach) have a very small pool from which to hire new teachers and not all new hires are good teachers. (Higher paying districts like those in Northern Virginia get a better pool of teacher-candidates.) New teachers are generally well-suited effective teachers, but some are not. Some can be coached, and some simply are not well-suited for the classroom and tend to do more harm than good, creating whole classes of low performing students. With the teacher shortage, schools tend to keep EVERY beginning teacher, no matter how poorly skilled until the end of their probationary period. Changing the length of probationary time to 5 years will simply allow poor teachers to remain in the classroom an additional 2 years, causing educational deficits among the children whom they teach. If anything, the probationary period should be shortened to two years to help encourage school districts to dismiss poor teachers. HB9 is bad for public education and bad for students.
I am writing to voice my opposition to the changes outlined in HB9-Ware. Teachers need support, especially in the face of the difficult circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and this bill does the opposite. We are facing record teacher turnover, and this bill would promote the dismissal of qualified but struggling teachers rather than giving them access to mentoring and other resources that would help them improve and be the teachers we desperately need in our schools. Now is not the time to attack teachers this way.
This bill seems to undermine processes of appeal for new teachers who are threatened with dismissal. As a concept, this provides no checks on administrators who may be considering dismissing a teacher without having proper evidence. The overall notion of the bill seems to be aiming towards making it easier to dismiss new teachers, who are already in short supply. New teachers need guidance and support, not more ways of removing them. This bill seems short sighted and will only further dismantle the delicate system of public schooling.
The above noted bill is a slap in the face of teachers who are weathering the Covid storm. It does nothing to strengthen schools, It only demoralizes teachers and adds to a false narrative that teachers are failing. Public schools, a bedrock of democracy, are under attack by forces that seek to divide us further by dismantling schools. Seek to provide our schools with the resources and respect given to the private schools for the most wealthy. That’s how you can serve the interest of The Commonwealth.
Please oppose HB9. During the probationary period for teachers, most districts do not allow teachers to post for assignment to other schools within the division and districts can not renew their assignment with less cause than a "tenured" teacher. We are all very aware that a high number of new teachers leave the profession within their first 3 years of teaching. These teachers should not be subjected to the added frustration of limited opportunity and capricious re-employment any longer than necessary to weed out truly sub-standard performance and offer adequate opportunities for skills remediation.
I oppose HB9. We are already in a critical shortage for teachers in most districts in the state and this would make reconsider becoming a teacher in Va or continuing to stay in the profession.
As a 2nd year teacher planning on moving to VA after this school year, HB9 (along with the governor’s executive orders) have forced me to reconsider. Teachers are professionals with college degrees. I have my Master of Science in an education-related field. Giving new teachers an extended probation shows that you do not trust us. This is insulting. If you want to recruit and retain quality teachers, you must treat us like the professionals we are and give us the respect we deserve.
I oppose HB9. Please support me by opposing HB9. HB9 will only cause an increase in teacher attrition which is one of the variables in declining teacher retention. The teacher workforce is to frail to support the lack of job stability that HB9 will impose. Please oppose HB9.
Most teachers leave the classroom within three to five years. There’s no security in increasing the probationary period. With a teacher shortage already taking hold of the entire nation, lawmakers should be providing incentives for citizens to become and stay educators not increasing barriers to establishing a career.
HB9 will increase the teacher shortage and make it more likely counties who struggle to find good teachers will make themselves less appealing to good teachers. It leaves new teachers vulnerable to administrators who can't separate the personal and professional. Please reconsider this bill.
As a public school teacher in Fairfax County, I am writing to share my opposition to HB9. Virginia and the United States as a whole were already experiencing an educator shortage before the pandemic. Now if is worse than ever with more educators planning to leave after this year or in the near future. This bill would make it even harder to recruit and retain educators at a time when they are so desperately needed. College students are already pursuing a teaching degree in fewer numbers than ever before. We need to be doing everything we can to make teaching a viable path for these students. I can assure you that additional years of probation and making it easier to remove teachers from their positions is not how we recruit and retain the best teachers. Please vote no on this bill. Thank you.
When designing new bills that increase the standards for teachers, please remember that we are experiencing a National Teacher shortage and a National Staff shortage in our public schools. There was a shortage before the pandemic, and now the shortage is even worse. Sorry, but not many people want to work in public schools anymore. It is very unfortunate. So, as the old saying goes, begs cannot choose....it would make more sense to put the time and energy into trying to recruit more people to work in our public schools at all levels. Increasing the standards for teachers especially is really an oxymoron at at time when no one really wants to teach anymore.
I am writing to you concerning HB 9. As a teacher who spent her entire 32 year career in Virginia public schools, I often reflect on my first years of teaching. It takes years to become a good teacher. Teachers run into bumps in the road as they navigate the complexities of the job. I can’t imagine how I would survived had my evaluations had been punitive and I wasn’t given job security and support to become the teacher I became. A 3 year probationary period is more than enough time to figure out whether a new teacher has the ability to become an effective teacher. Making evaluations punitive rather than supportive of young teachers by dismissing teachers after 2 non-satisfactory evaluations doesn’t allow teachers to grow as professionals and adds undue stress to an already stressful job. Getting rid of appeals does not give teachers the due process they deserve. While I know the narrative of the bad teacher is pervasive in certain circles, I can tell you that I met very few teachers that met the criteria for dismissal. I worked in 5 different schools as a reading specialist and coach, so I was able to witness many teachers teach. Out of 32 years, I can only name 4 teachers out of the large number of teachers I taught with who I felt should be dismissed. Three were dismissed during the 3 year probationary period. A lack of administrative follow through allowed the fourth to continue teaching. Virginia is going to face a huge teacher shortage, endangering its 4th place state public school ranking. While we want to keep our teaching force filled with talented teachers and encourage those who struggle to become excellent teachers to peruse other passions, we need to make sure that teaching is attractive to talented candidates. HB 9 strips new teachers of job security, support, and due process. I encourage you to talk to teachers in your districts. Ask them how to improve teacher quality. They have a lot of the answers you are seeking. The answer to improving teacher quality isn’t HB 9. Thank you for your time. Marni Matyac
I oppose this bill that extends the length of time for teachers on probation for “disciplinary” action and limits the length of time for review. This seems more like a way to streamline dismissal of educators who are not ideologically aligned with the school boards with no recourse for the teachers. Oppose!
I urge you to reject increasing the probationary term of service from three to five years in HB 9. Three years is a sufficient probationary term of service for public school educators. This piece of legislation is anti-worker (especially anti public education worker!) by trying to eliminate the option of a three-member fact finding panel, and reducing written notices of a hearing from 10 to five days. Reject every piece of HB 9.
Please vote no. Teachers are already struggling enough. Many are leaving the profession. Please do not increase the probationary time from 3 years to 5. Thank you for your consideration.
Our education system is dependent on student educators that spend a lifetime of learning to be able to teach our most precious resource, our children. To extend the time of teacher probation to an excessive 5 years and eliminate time and opportunity for a dismissal review panel, projects a distrust of the higher institutions training our educators. It is the culmination of training that provides the skill sets to be able to engage students and be successful in education. Currently, we are experiencing fewer students interested in teaching and this legislation would not provide support for the educator. It only provides a shortcut for elimination and the right to have unprejudiced interaction with a panel. Our educators need support, not shortcuts and overwhelming lengths of probationary status. Thank you, for your consideration. Mrs. Cathy Johnson Retired Educator Gainesville, VA
Continuing contract status should NOT be extended to 5 years. Teachers are professionals who have gone through specific training. Requiring additional service before earning a continuing contract disrespects their education and training.
I’d like to understand the reasoning for this legislation. I’m sure the Committee would agree the need to attract the best teachers to the Commonwealth. Let’s look at the current offerings: 1. An average salary $8,000 less than the national average the last time I checked. 2. No ability to bargaining collectively unless authorized to do so by the local school board. 3. No ability to leverage political power due to the prohibition of strikes. 4. For Northern Virginia teachers, if not more locations in the Commonwealth, unreasonable class sizes. 5. Extreme burn out for those better angles teaching and working with students who require special education services due to huge caseloads and lack of teachers. 6. A bona fide critical shortage of teachers. 7. As is the case nationwide, extreme pressure from society to be selfless in all expectations of how we are treated in this pandemic as well as a stinging public attitude towards our profession. 8. Looming danger of exposure to and resulting sickness from COVID as a result of Governor Youngkin’s order to stop the required wearing of face masks by students. Shall I remind the good legislators that the exercise of personal liberty ends at the point at which said exercise puts others in harm’s way? 9. Education as an industry faces a brutal, looming crisis in staffing- teachers are retiring early, significantly less students are enrolling in teaching programs, teachers are leaving the profession for careers that garner much more respect and compensation. 10. AND NOW- Delegate Ware is proposing an increase in our probationary period from 3 to 5 years?? AND making it easier for school boards to hurriedly dismiss teachers?? Let me get this straight- it’s already less appealing to teach in the Commonwealth for reasons I noted above (and more) yet this Committee is actually considering making it EVEN LESS APPEALING? Do you really want to cripple the teachers’ morale and add insult to injury with this unnecessary, and dare I say ill informed legislation? Three years is adequate time in which to determine the quality and capabilities of a teacher. No dismissal should be rushed, no matter the profession. It’s time for the General Assembly to champion teachers, not fan the flames of the already blistering and raging disdain we face from society. What other professional endures the belittling and blatant disregard for expertise? I say there is none. If you truly want to offer superior and excellent education to the students of Virginia, do not vote in favor of this bill. Teachers must be protected from egregious attempts to further erode their rights to due process and protection from half-baked attempts at dismissal. The key to successful education is stalwart support of teachers and ALL educational staff.
I urge you to strongly oppose HB9. Our educators are trusted professionals. During their current 3-year probationary period, school system leaders have a definitive process to mentor new educators. In the ample amount of time school divisions have to support these new educators, extending this process does not benefit the employee and increases the amount of work placed on school system leadership. Take for example, if a school division has 200 new teachers each year for three years, this is 600 employees in their probationary period. If we extend the probationary period to five years, 200 x 5 years = 1,000 employees per year. School systems of any size do NOT have the resources to support this work.
Please reconsider HB9 and it’s potentially harmful message it may send incoming teachers as to how easily they may be discarded without thoughtful recourse.
As a Virginia educator of 30 years, I cannot emphasis enough the importance of making changes to attract new teachers to our state, not changes that make it harder for new teacher and end up driving them away from teaching and into other fields . I am aware of a recent college graduate who chose to move to Maryland to begin her teaching career because the new teacher system was more attractive and the pay better. She was a fantastic student and will be an excellent teacher and it is a great loss to our state that we couldn’t compete and keep her here. The challenges facing teachers today are reaching an unsustainable level and we are losing teachers at an alarming rate. Any changes made right now need to be to attract teachers to stay, not scare them away as this plan will surely do.
I have been a teacher in Virginia public schools for 20 years. Teachers are hurting. Retention is terrible. Administrators are overburdened. This bill is an attack on professionaims and teachers and will only exacerbate the teacher shortage that has existed now for more than a decade. This is shameful.
I am writing to ask you NOT to increase the probationary period from 3 to 5 years. Teachers are professionals who should be treated like professionals.
I’m opposed to HB 9 because it discourages new teachers at a time when we have teaching shortages. Teachers should be rewarded for their persistence in the midst of a pandemic, not punished.
This bill would reduce protections for teachers. If we are trying to recruit, retain and promote professionalism in education, we need to support teachers. This would leave public service educators vulnerable to unfair dismissals and would discourage potential educators from joining the public education system.
I object strongly to the proposal to extend the 3-year probationary period to 5. I started teaching English in Chesterfield County in Jan 2021 at the height of the pandemic. I taught virtually and via the hybrid model in 2021. My provisional license obtained via a career switcher course was renewed for a year. Due to the time I spent away from teaching I gave up much of my summer doing refresher courses online with Old Dominion University. I am now teaching students in class. I teach the same topics as fellow teachers who are no longer on probation. I am held to the same rigorous standards. My students have shown a comparable level of improvement. it seems ridiculous that I should have the added anxiety of five years on probation. I am in my 50s. That seems like a very long time to me. While I would agree the first three years are something of a learning curve, I believe extending this by two full years merely instills more uncertainty into a profession already riddled with it and will prove to be a further barrier to teacher retention. David Macaulay
Dear Legislators, PLEASE REJECT HOUSE BILL 9. To increase the probationary period from 3 years to 5 years for teachers is absurd, unreasonable, and unnecessary. It is also wrong to reduce the notification period for any hearing. Most jobs have a 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month probationary period. Teachers do NOT need probationary periods of more than 36 months! I have been in education for 27 years now with experience spanning from preschool through high school. Education is a difficult field with high demands and low pay. There aren’t enough certified teachers now and making the requirements more intense is more of a deterrent. It is hard to find teachers, specialists, and substitutes. In case you are unaware, there are many vacant teaching positions without candidates. Have you ever taught? Have you ever done the job for which you are proposing to extend the probationary period? You already removed tenure for teachers several years ago and that should be enough. Teachers are under what feels like insurmountable levels of stress, so please do not add to this. Teaching has never been easy, but teaching now in Covid-19 is even more challenging. Please be kind to teachers and make our field a desirable and respected field again. Thank you for listening and please reject HB9. Sincerely, Mrs. Collins
Dear Delegate Ware, I am a constituent in your district. As you know, the education field is suffering a severe teacher shortage. This bill is ill-timed for today's workforce. I would never advise my child to work in education with these type of requirements on top of low pay and diminished benefits. The probationary term is much more stringent than any job I have ever held. I encourage you to think about creating legislation that will attract young people to education instead of making the field as unattractive a career pathway as possible. Sincerely, Sara Johnson-Ward
I am against HB9 . This is not the way to retain and get new teachers. Delegates ,Avioli , LaRock, McGuire, Durant, Tata, VanValkenburg, Subramanyam, Maldonado, Davis I am against this bill.
Good morning! Supervision and evaluation of teachers is important to ensure that students in public school receive a quality education. However, at a time when we have a shortage of teachers, these new proposals seem excessive and will do little to encourage those interested in education to become teachers . Administrators need to be able to get rid of ineffective teachers but due process is important. I do not recommend that this bill move on. Thank you for your consideration.
I am asking you to vote against sending this bill out of committee. This bill disregards that educators are professionals — placing them under ever lengthening probation periods. It also ignored that teachers should have the right to due process, including right of appeal, that we pride ourselves on as Americans and Virginians.
Please vote no to house bill 9 tomorrow.
As a current educator in the classroom. I vote no to extending the probation period for teachers. Let us keep it at 3.
Please vote to OPPOSE HB9. This flawed legislation will make it more difficult to attract and retain quality teachers. 3 years is plenty of time to evaluate the worthiness of new teachers to attain continuing contract status. Further, changes to the hearing process are unfair to teachers who are being threatened over their job status. Thank you for your consideration.
Please vote against House Bill 9. Do not vote to extend a probationary teachers to a five year term. 3 years is more than enough to evaluate the teacher. It promotes negativity and destroys moral in a career that already has many who retire after the first five years, statistically. A great shortage of teachers looks before us. The evaluation of teachers tenured or not remains rigorous and over emphasized. Please do not make it more difficult to keep good people.
I am a teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools and I OPPOSE House Bill 9. I do not support the idea of making my life and the lives of my coworkers more demanding and stressful, which is exactly what this bill is proposing. All across the nation, teachers are leaving the profession in droves (with over 50% of new teachers leaving the profession within 5 years), and the main reason for this (besides pay) is the lack of respect. We are highly education professions; let us teach without more of this administrative and bureaucratic nonsense.
As a teacher in Virginia, I am sharing my thoughts on all three bills. To begin on a positive note, HB8 makes sense to me. School security officers are important, and I'm thrilled to see an opportunity for retired veterans to potentially serve in this very important role. My only concern with this bill is the section "any other duty assigned him by the local school board". I generally prefer local school divisions be granted as much flexibly as possible, but I wonder if this clause could be used by some school boards to force school security officers to take on other responsibilities not related to their core job. Just some food for thought. I have grace concerns about HB9. I've mentioned that I generally support flexibility for local school divisions, but this bill lacks any short of specific parameters for how this option to increase the probationary period for up to two years would be implemented. This is something that could be abused in many ways. What also makes no sense about this bill is that while that aforementioned flexibility to the probationary period is established, this bill then takes discretion away from school divisions by removing the option of a fact-finding panel for dismissals. I also don't understand the rationale for cutting the time period after written notice of such a hearing in half, besides leaving teachers at a disadvantage. This bill is logically inconsistent, with the only consistent factor across all aspects is that it comes across as anti-teacher. I'm not against high expectations for us teachers but considering the nation-wide crisis in morale (one recent Forbes article cited a study suggesting that up to 50% of teachers nation-wide are considering leaving the profession) I fear that this bill will make it even more difficult for school divisions across the commonwealth to retain and recruit educators. I urge each of you to vote down this misguided legislation. To end on a more positive note, I support most of HB12. It makes sense to limit public access points to schools (ideally to just one if possible). My only concern with this bill is that I'm not sure how feasible it would be for a school security officer to search every visitor using a handheld metal detector. I teach at a small school with one security officer who is stationed near the main entrance most of the day, but he does patrol the hallways during class transitions. This is less than 10 minutes, so we could ask visitors to wait, but then he also is posted in the cafeteria during all three lunches. Perhaps funding for additional school security officers could be attached. I'm not sure if it's required by state law or if funding is already provided, but I would also like to see all schools with a buzz in type system, so that no one can get into a school without being buzzed in. This also would be costly though, and state funding would likely be required for several school divisions. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts on these three bills.
The legislation is unfair because it allows districts to get rid of teachers without cause for a longer period of time. There is no justification for this increase and in reality will help to deter more teachers from entering the profession. Do not pass this bill. Teachers all across Virginia are struggling and districts continue to struggle to attract good teachers. Do not create another negative reason to run teachers away.
Please oppose HB 9.
Please reject HB9 calling for increasing the probationary period for teachers from three to five years. Three years is enough time for an employer to see what the teacher is capable of doing and where improvements are needed if the district provides appropriate guidance and direction for their educators when they enter the profession. We are already experiencing great teacher shortages; I, myself, teach an extra class because we were never able to fill the vacant position at my school. We have several more unfilled vacant positions at my school alone. Our educators need more support so they can develop into the educators our students need. They do not need harsher and less stable working conditions. Again, please reject HB9. Sincerely, Shannon S. Macaulay EdSp English, yearbook, and journalism teacher Chesterfield County Public Schools
I strongly oppose HB9 to extend probationary period of 3 years to 5 years for educators. Educators are constantly asked to do more for less and with less. This is many instances why there is a shortages of educators across the board throughout our nation.
To ask teachers to increase the probationary period is unconscionable. Teachers are already stressed out. Probationary periods remove protections. Also to remove the 3 member hearing or 10 to 5 day notices? Teachers deserve due process.