West Virginia’s public elementary, middle school and high school teachers work hard. They put in countless hours of time – not just work time – in planning their lessons, grading papers, and putting in the effort to educate and stimulate West Virginia’s youth.
Teachers need some free time in their day to plan their lessons in order to be good educators the next school day. Good principals know that and respect that.
But principals work hard too. And they need flexibility to manage the myriad of daily demands needed to run a public school.
Fortunately, Gov. Tomblin respects that as well, and last week he smartly vetoed Senate Bill 477, which would have required principals to give teachers uninterrupted time for a planning period every day, regardless of most circumstances.
It’s already been well documented that West Virginia has too many laws determining what educators can and cannot do in a school day.
“West Virginia is one of the most highly centralized and impermeable education systems in the country: no other state education system is so highly regulated in code,” said a 2012 report by Public Works LLC in its education efficiency audit.
While the idea of a teacher’s planning period is good and principals should respect it to the extent possible, it doesn’t need to be in statute to further restrict and further codify the state’s over-regulated public education system.
Gov. Tomblin’s veto of the bill was the right action to take.