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Debate over W.Va. ed bill turns to teacher hiring

Mar. 03, 2013 @ 11:20 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s bid to rewrite teacher hiring practices has sparked an early battle as the Legislature wades through his proposed overhaul of West Virginia’s public schools.

The governor wants seniority given less weight. His bill places it among several other factors, and allows county boards to decide which to emphasize when choosing applicants.

Boards would also have to consider what principals and faculty senates recommend. Other proposed changes include reducing seniority’s role in transfers.

Groups representing teachers have denounced these provisions. They argue the proposed changes shortchange teachers and invite cronyism. Critics also question how these changes would improve student achievement.

But superintendents in both large and small counties are among those welcoming Tomblin’s proposal. They say the best teacher isn’t always the one hired under current practices.