Teachers testified at the public hearing voicing their concerns and disagreements to the GDOE proposed amendment on Section 904.71 Reclassification of Teachers of the Department of Education Personnel Rules and Regulations. The amendment will make teacher classification based on fund availability, reduce the application period from twice to once a year and require at least an effective rating on the applicant’s most recent evaluation. Teacher testimonies expressed the potential loss of quality educators who have invested time and money in applying for reclassification. Gina Call, GFT member and teacher at Price elementary stated, “It’s an insult to me, teachers working hard upgrading themselves to become more professional and effective in the classroom..we talk about teacher retention and filling up classrooms, this is not the way to do it.”

Teachers also stated the concern of the evaluation plans used to determine reclassification. Mark McCarthy, Board – Union representative, suggested to use the PTEP evaluation rating of “emerging” instead of “effective” for purposes of reclassification. McCarthy explains that the PTEP (Professional Teacher Evaluation Plan) is designed as a formative evaluation instrument where teachers are observed by administrators and given feedback based on five standards and performance indicators. The three top ratings of emerging, effective and highly effective are all considered satisfactory ratings.

In addition to concerns with the evaluation plan, GFT President, Sanjay Sharma, proposed a 10% interest added on to reclassification pay for teachers who were not paid out due to lack of funds and suggested that GDOE not declare a lack of funds for consecutive school years. Sharma stated, “The biggest worry that teachers have when they come to GFT stating their displeasure of what management had proposed is that DOE could potentially say there is a lack of funding and not pay any teacher reclassification until the teacher retires.” The GFT proposed amendment for teacher reclassification may be viewed here.