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Feb 09

VASSP Position on HB 576

The opening of the General Assembly’s 2012 session brought legislation with new potential challenges for Virginia school administrators. Perhaps the most controversial piece of legislation was presented by Delegate Richard Bell, R-Staunton, HB 576. The bill, a continuation of Governor McDonnell’s performance based teacher incentive from the 2011 session, places new deadlines and accountabilities on teachers and principals. The bill has brought about much discussion and concern among Virginia’s administrators. There are several blog entries on this site which outline issues and concerns related to this bill. Please refer to the January 21st, January 26th, and January 30th blog entries for information.

Members of the VASSP Board of Directors as well as principals across the commonwealth have supplied their input to Dr. Randy Barrack, Executive Director, regarding this proposed legislation. As a result, VASSP has developed and presented our position on HB 576 to the House Education Committee. It is listed below for your review. Your input/ commentary is welcome either on this blog site or by contacting the VASSP office at 804 355 2777 or by contacting Dr. Barrack at rbarrack@vassp.org.

VASSP TESTIMONY

Presented Before the House Education Committee on February 8, 2012
Regarding House Bill No. 576: Public Schools; Teacher Contract and Evaluation Policies.

The VASSP, representing middle and high school principals and assistant principals throughout the Commonwealth, does not support implementation of HB 576 at this time. Statewide education associations, including VASSP, were not formally privy to discussions and the decision-making process that resulted in any version of the language included in HB 576, although administrators are integral to the implementation of this major change in how contracts are written and evaluations of instructional personnel are carried out.

HB 576, as is currently proposed, would go into effect on July 1 of 2013. You may or may not know that the new teacher evaluation policy recently approved by the Board of Education – a sea change to current policy – goes into effect July 1, 2012, and the principal evaluation policy will not go into effect until July 1, 2013, the current effective date of HB 576.

Best practice tells us that professional development, critical to successful evaluation, should precede implementation of a new evaluation system in order to produce the desired results. Guidelines should precede implementation of policies, not follow them. Middle level and high school principals and assistant principals respectfully request that you give serious consideration to delaying implementation of this legislation. We believe it is premature, puts implementation ahead of process, and puts at risk the success of the Board of Education’s sweeping changes to the system of evaluation of all instructional personnel, including principals and assistant principals.

NOTE: VASSP Director of Government Relations Bet Neale delivered the testimony.