AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn Superintendent of Schools Maryellen Brunelle said she supports putting the best teacher in front of students after the Massachusetts House and Senate passed legislation this week that gives teacher performance and evaluations greater weight in public school personnel decisions.
“I think we should always make decisions that are based in the students’ best interest,” Brunelle said. “So regardless of whether the teacher is a brand-new teacher or a veteran of 30-plus years, we want to have the best educator in front of that student.
“We’re fortunate in Auburn to have a tremendously dedicated staff, so I don’t know that it would be an issue that we would need to exercise here,” Brunelle continued. “But I think anytime we can put the best person in front of students, I’m in favor of that.”
The legislation would prevent a November ballot initiative, which would have put the issue in voters’ hands. The bill still needs to be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick by July 3 to become law.
The controversial proposal to diminish the role that teacher seniority plays in personnel decisions was first offered by the advocacy group Stand for Children, putting pressure on the Legislature to act on the issue.
Under the bill, districts will be required to report to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on their training implementation plans.
While teacher seniority and length of service could no longer be used as the primary factor in determining personnel matters, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, the Senate chair of the Education Committee, told the State House News Service that seniority and length of service could still be used to “break a tie.”
According to the bill, it is “designed to ensure the effective implementation of the education evaluation system adopted by the state Board of Education by providing training for teachers and administrators, assures that job performance indicators are the primary factors in school staffing decisions and creates a data collection system to assess the effectiveness of the system.”