The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 25, 2013

The best person

Teachers must be hired based on who’s most qualified

— When employers conduct job interviews, the goal is to hire the best, most qualified person for the position regardless of race, gender, age, religion, etc.

So why is it that when it comes to the process of employing teachers in West Virginia’s public schools, some candidates are clearly discriminated against because of seniority?

It makes no sense.

Other than the aforementioned act of discrimination, why, why wouldn’t we want to put the best possible teachers in the classroom whether they are 25, 35, 45 or 55?

Students and taxpayers are getting the old one-two routine with the hiring practices that have been followed in our state’s education system for years.

Education reform in West Virginia will require a multitude of changes, but how we go about picking those to instruct our kids should clearly be based on who is the best.

Many of our veteran teachers have years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to continue sharing with our children in a productive learning environment.

However, just like anything else, that doesn’t include them all. And the way things are set up now, because of seniority, it’s difficult for school administrators to do anything about it — their hands are tied.

That way of operating our schools can’t continue.

The strong, dedicated teachers will still survive and flourish, while those who are riding the gravy train will either have to step up their game or be gone.

Legitimate evaluations and giving administrators flexibility in making employment decisions must be a significant part of the reform package our state leaders are working on.

It’s the only fair way and the only way to improve as we reconstruct the foundation for a quality education in West Virginia schools.