A bill intended to better support new and underperforming teachers and help decide whether struggling teachers should be fired advanced in the House Wednesday.
The House Education Committee voted 11-3 in favor of HB115, which would allow districts to apply for grants to create peer-assistance and review programs. Under such programs, districts would release certain experienced teachers from classroom duty, at least part-time for a few years, so they could mentor new and struggling teachers. Those mentors would also be responsible for regularly evaluating those teachers, and would make recommendations to district panels about whether specific teachers need more help, should be hired for another year or fired.
Bill sponsor Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said such a program is needed to help stem the loss of teachers in their first few years. Sydnee Dickson, of the State Office of Education, said about 38 percent of teachers leave in their first five years, according to the most recent data available. Moss is asking for $300,000 to start the program.