For Immediate Release
August 4, 2017
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s recent bipartisan vote to include an important teacher seniority reform in H.B. 178 – the omnibus Education Code bill.
“On behalf of Pennsylvania’s broad-based business community, I applaud the Senate for supporting this important education reform that will remove the counterproductive ‘last-in, first out’ mandate that prevents school districts from retaining their best teachers. The No. 1 in-school factor that influences a student’s education is having a quality teacher in the classroom. Unfortunately, under current law, school districts’ hands are tied when faced with the unfortunate situation of having to furlough teachers – with seniority being the only factor in determining which teachers should be let go. This antiquated practice has resulted in gifted, dynamic teachers being forced to leave the classroom, while teachers who might be less effective but have simply been employed longer keep their jobs.
"To truly improve Pennsylvania’s public education system, we have to look at real reforms that will improve a student’s classroom experience – not just continue to throw more money at the current system. In the private sector, an employee’s effectiveness and work product are taken into account for human resource decisions; there is no reason why the same principles and standards shouldn’t be applied to the Commonwealth’s education systems. We encourage the House’s swift concurrence on this bill and urge Gov. Tom Wolf to sign it into law.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.