Tenure reform passes House

Published 9:12 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

MONTGOMERY – Education reform in Alabama took a big step forward Wednesday as the House of Representatives gave final passage to the “Students First” tenure and fair dismissal reform bill.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard praised the passage of such a critical reform calling Wednesday night’s vote a milestone in the effort to move Alabama’s education system forward.

“(Wednesday’s) vote is a victory for the students, teachers and taxpayers of Alabama,” Speaker Hubbard said. “There’s no question that the quality of our teachers is at the highest level it has ever been. Now, Alabama is one step closer to having a tenure law that is as professional as our teachers.”

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The bill keeps tenure protection for teachers while giving local school systems and community colleges the authority to fire bad teachers and problem employees for justifiable causes. The bill also removes the costly and time-consuming federal arbitration for termination appeals and replaces it with a fair, common-sense appeals procedure that guarantees due process for teachers while ensuring cost savings for local schools.

State Representative Chad Fincher (R-Mobile), who co-sponsored the bill with State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), said tenure reform will enhance the teaching profession in Alabama.

“Most teachers actually support this reform because most teachers are good teachers who will never have anything to worry about,” Representative Fincher said. “Passing this bill is the right thing to do for our children and our teachers. The people of Alabama have long awaited reform of the state’s tenure laws and I’m proud that we’ve made it possible.”

Speaker Hubbard added that Wednesday night’s vote was a seminal moment for the House.

“This was without a doubt the most significant vote of the session so far,” he said. “We’ve passed the budgets, enacted common sense, conservative reforms, and changed the way business is done in Montgomery. If the session ended tonight, it would probably be the most productive legislative session in history. But we’re not finished. We’re still at work moving Alabama forward, and it’s about time.”