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Government / IPBS

Adjunct public school teacher measure heads to Senate floor

Brandon Smith
The bill is aimed at helping curb a teacher shortage, but critics say it demeans skilled teachers and targets their unions.

House Bill 1251 would, among other things, permit adjunct teachers in public school classrooms. It’s aimed at helping curb a teacher shortage, but critics say it demeans skilled teachers and targets their unions.

The bill was amended in committee to make it closer to a similar measure that was cut from a Senate bill.

It would allow anyone with five years of professional experience to teach in a relevant content area. It's aimed primarily at middle and high school classrooms, or for arts teacher in elementary grades. The adjuncts could work a maximum of 20 hours a week under the guidance of a “teacher mentor.”

READ MORE: Bills to create adjunct status for public school teachers considered in Statehouse

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However, the adjuncts wouldn’t be covered under collective bargaining agreements between unions and districts. Labor advocates describe it as a "union busting" bill.

Many teachers, including Tim Conner from Delphi, testified against the measure saying that while adjuncts may have career experience, they worry about the lack of teaching skills.

“Just because you’ve done a specific job doesn’t mean you can teach that job," Conner said. "Folks, I have an oven in my house. I'm telling you right now, that oven doesn’t make me a baker.”

Several lawmakers responded by pointing out most districts require even less experience from temporary substitutes. The committee passed the bill along party lines.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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