Thursday, December 17, 2009

Education bill weakened, critics say

The reform legislation in Massachusetts appears to be getting watered down:

Over the past two months, more than 20,000 teachers and their supporters have bombarded Beacon Hill with letters, e-mails, and telephone calls, urging legislators not to give superintendents unprecedented authority to ignore union rules as they overhaul troubled schools.

So far the lobbying has paid off. The education bill approved by the Senate last month eliminated several controversial proposals, including a provision that would have allowed superintendents to dismiss any teacher at a failing school regardless of job performance.

Now, as the fiercest education debate in 16 years heads to the House, groups of business executives, parents, and school leaders say the bill has been so watered down that it will do little to help improve the education of students in the state's worst schools. Instead, they say it puts the interest of teachers above their students.

"There is no leader of any organization that could make effective changes with those kinds of handcuffs,'' said Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. "It's almost like a bad bill would be worse than no bill.''


Education bill weakened, critics say

Right to fire teachers at failing schools axed

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