Heads Up Teachers!—Watch Senate Bill 893

_HBSenate Bill 893, sponsored by Amarillo’s own, former mayor, Senator Kel Seliger, passed the senate yesterday. According to the Austin Statesman’s newspaper, “This bill helps teachers to continue to improve their skills through regular appraisals and individualized training.” The bill would reduce teacher’s minimum pay to $27,540 a year, or around $13.75 per hour. The bill would also, “grant the commissioner of education a blank check to mandate that school districts use standardized test scores as a significant component of teacher evaluations, while also killing the longstanding state salary step schedule for teachers.”

According to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: “Today’s approval by the Texas Senate requiring annual public school teacher appraisals is the latest bill in our educational reform package to be passed overwhelmingly. This is an important bill for our teachers and students that links the appraisal process with professional development and compensation. It will ensure that our teachers receive timely appraisals with productive feedback and targeted professional development to serve their individual needs. SB 893 also eliminates an antiquated salary system that is based only on the number of years a teacher has in the classroom and instead seeks to ensure teachers are paid according to their professional abilities.”

According to one newspaper, “So far the reaction to this bill has: one of disbelief, followed naturally by anger. Marrying test-driven evaluations to a pathetic state minimum salary is yet another kick that will drive away many highly qualified educators. As part of a comprehensive teacher-quality policy, the state instead should increase minimum pay for teachers at all levels of experience, not reduce it to $27,540 a year.” House Bill 2543, so far not passed, does the same thing as Senate Bill 893.

Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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