The following is an update from MEA regarding issues being discussed at the State House in Augusta.
Teacher Probationary Periods:
The Education Committee unanimously voted to support LD 345, a bill that would shorten probationary periods for all new teachers beginning in 2020. This is major progress. The bill still needs to make its way through the Legislature and be signed by the Governor, but if the bill becomes law it will constitute serious improvements for new teachers.
In 2011, one of the first bills enacted by Governor LePage lengthened the probationary period for teachers to three years. The MEA has argued in the past that three years is a long time to keep a teacher on probation, and MEA feels two years should be plenty of time for administrators to evaluate teachers. LD 345, MEA’s bill to roll back the probationary periods to two years, will reverse one of LePage’s top priorities.
Hats off to Representative Dave McCrea, the sponsor of LD 345. Representative McCrea serves on the Education Committee and was an MEA member and teacher in Fort Fairfield for 48 years – proving yet again the difference educators can make when MEA members run for the State House.
Test Scores, SLOs and LD 92:
MEA’s bill to remove the requirement to use test scores and student growth measures to evaluate teachers is making its way through the State House. The votes in the House and Senate have been strong and MEA expects final enactment this week. LD 92 removes any requirement to use student growth measures to evaluate teachers. In addition, the bill requires all districts to have a local steering committee comprised of a majority of teachers, appointed by the local association and decisions made by consensus.
You can read the amended version of the bill by clicking here.
Click on the links to see the roll call votes for your State Representative and your State Senator.
#RedforEd – Wednesday, April 17
MEA’s #RedforEd Day at the State House is fast approaching on Wednesday April 17. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/RedforEd-ME
In addition to a press event, MEA expects public hearings on our bill to give public school employees the right to strike, LD 900, and another bill, LD 1370, to protect public school employees from being assaulted at work. Click the links to read about LD 900 – Right to Strike and LD 1370 – Protecting Educators from Assaults.
MEA expects members will have a chance to testify on both of these bills on Wednesday, April 17.
Bills on Deck
- Educators for Maine Program: The MEA will testify in support of a bill to triple the Educators for Maine loan program, which will provide up to $9,000 in forgivable loans. This will basically mean tuition at University of Maine at Farmington will be free for students that agree to be teachers and teach for 4 years in a public school.
- Promoting Social & Emotional Learning, Mental Health Education: The MEA will also testify in support of bills to promote social and emotional learning in schools, and address mental health education in schools.
- Retirees Returning to Work: The MEA will testify in support of removing restrictions on retirees returning to work and solidifying the state’s commitment to the COLA for pension recipients.