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Gov. Wolf vetoes HB 805, GOP sponsored teacher furlough bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed House Bill 805, the GOP sponsored bill that would eliminate seniority based furloughs for public school teachers.

The Governor outlined his reasons for rejecting the measure in a statement to the House of Representatives:

“This bill relies heavily on a single score from the teacher evaluation system, as opposed to using the entire method of evaluation. At a time when there is bipartisan agreement that we need to reduce our reliance on high-stakes testing, we should not use high-stake test scores as the benchmark for teacher quality. The teacher evaluation system was created in 2012 to evaluate teachers on multiple measures of student success. As designed, teachers who did not achieve satisfactory scores across the multiple measures would lose any acquired protection from seniority. This evaluation process was designed to identify a teacher’s weakness and then provide the teacher with the opportunity to improve their teaching through coaching and mentorship. Teachers who do not improve after being given the opportunity and tools to do so are the ones who should no longer be in the classroom. This is the system we should be using to remove ineffective teachers.”

Bill author Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) issued a response to the Governor’s statement:

“I am extremely disappointed that Governor Wolf has chosen to side with special interests today instead of Pennsylvania students. I question whether the governor even took the time to read the legislation before making the hasty decision to rob our kids of the guarantee that they will get to keep their best teachers. His stated reasons for vetoing this commonsense reform reflect grave misapprehensions on his part about what the bill actually does and does not do. The rationale he offered suggests that his decision was made in reliance upon the false talking points and distortions of special interest critics who are defending Pennsylvania’s dysfunctional status quo. Sadly, the governor’s veto preserves the bad laws that too often force our best educators out of our kid’s classrooms”.