Senate approves change to teacher evaluation

On the first day of the 2012 session, the state senate today passed a measure that requires local school boards to look at a teacher’s effectiveness, not length of employment, as the primary factor when considering what teachers to lay off as part of a “reduction of force implementation.”

Senate Bill 184, authored by President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, passed by a 38-15 margin. Other sponsors of the bill include Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Sen. John Albers.

“We are not wasting anytime getting down to business. We have many important issues that Georgians expect us to address quickly and efficiently. Positive reform remains vital to the advancement of our education system,” Williams in a news release. “The Senate is unified and eager to get back to work on behalf of the people of Georgia.”

The state House passed the measure during the 2011 session.

“Today in Georgia, lawmakers put the needs of children first in passing legislation that will require job performance to be considered in the unfortunate event that teacher layoffs arise,” Tim Melton, vice president of legislative affairs for StudentsFirst, said in a news release. “That’s a huge improvement over the existing policy in many Georgia districts in which seniority is the sole factor in determining who gets to stay and teach our kids and who must go.

“Our teachers are our most critical in-school resource, and we have to start enacting policies reflecting that,” Melton added. “Our million-plus members congratulate and stand behind the leaders who took a major step in that direction today.”

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