May. 04, 2015

HARRISBURG — The House Education Committee today took an important step toward keeping Pennsylvania’s best teachers in the classroom and boosting student achievement by voting to end the practice of seniority-based layoffs, said Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), prime sponsor of the Protecting Excellent Teachers Act.

Seniority-based layoffs are dismissals conducted in order of inverse seniority. The last teacher hired is the first person fired, regardless of his or her impact on students.

“Excellent educators are the foundation of a quality education system, but because of unfair state rules, we often force out our best educators simply because they have fewer years of seniority than other, less effective teachers,” Bloom said.

House Bill 805 would strengthen the teaching profession and boost student success by ensuring that school districts use teacher performance to guide furlough and reinstatement decisions. Performance ratings would be based on the comprehensive statewide educator evaluation system adopted in 2012, under which observed educators are assigned a rating of distinguished, proficient, needs improvement or failing.

“Pennsylvania spends more than ever on public education, more than $27 billion this year,” Bloom explained. “This bill will make sure that we’re investing wisely by keeping our most effective teachers in our classrooms, so they can build a lasting educational legacy of learning for our children, rather than elevating teacher seniority over teacher success.”

Bloom added that Pennsylvania is one of only six remaining states that require seniority to be the sole factor in determining layoffs.

“House Bill 805 is about looking beyond the narrow-minded existing approach of mandating layoffs based strictly on seniority. Instead, we can give our students the chance to learn with the very best teachers,” Bloom added. “Our kids and our teachers deserve the best teachers in their classrooms.”

House Bill 805 now awaits consideration by the full House.

Representative Stephen Bloom
199th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Abbey Haslam
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