WVLEG: Senate Passes Teacher Planning Period Protection

By westvirginia on March 1, 2011
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By Steven Allen Adams
steven@westvirginiawatchdog.org

The West Virginia State Senate voted Tuesday to protect a teacher’s ability to plan their classes without interference from administrators.

S.B. 467 would require incidence reports when teachers are unlawfully assigned any responsibility during their planning period.

School principals would fill out a report to the county superintendent any time a teacher is assigned responsibility during their planning period, including the reasons why. The state superintendent of schools would compile the reports into one  and submit that report to Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on or before November 1 of each year. Under state law, teachers are given no less than 30 minutes for their planning periods, used to to plan lessons and grade papers.

“It would allow us to get good data to determine if this is a major issue or not,” said Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha.

The bill, as amended in committee, gave administrators the ability to assign responsibilities to teachers during their planning period, but only if the teacher gave their consent. The West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers supported the amendment, while the West Virginia Association of School Administrators opposed it.

“This has been a point of contention with the administrative law judges that have been assigned to these,” said Sen. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “It was felt necessary by some of the teacher organizations this needed to be clarified in law.”

Wells, vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee, amended the bill on the Senate floor, stripping out the committee’s language and inserting the reporting requirements.

“I think what we’re doing is putting the teachers in an adversarial relationship between the administrators and the teacher,” Wells said. “I think we’re also hamstringing administrators in their ability to run the school…Putting in adversarial language…I don’t think is wise.”

The Senate approved the bill 32-1. The bill now crosses over to the House of Delegates.

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Posted under Education, Legislation, Legislature, News, Regulations, State Senate, West Virginia.
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