Take a moment and reflect on those who have inspired and encouraged you over the years, and helped you develop into the person you are today. Who comes to mind?

For many of us, a great teacher will come to mind.

Many districts across the Commonwealth are facing difficult financial times. As school districts face rising costs and stagnant revenues, they are forced to make tough budgetary choices. In some cases, the only solution is teacher layoffs.

Unfortunately, the Public School Code and collective bargaining agreements require districts to rely solely on seniority to determine layoff decisions. This means that we inevitably lose some of our most effective teachers, simply because they have less classroom experience than other teachers in the district.

This practice has disproportionately negative affect on low-income and minority students because they are more likely to share the classroom with a young teacher.

Pennsylvania is one of only six states that still relies solely on seniority to make these important staffing decisions.

In May 2016, the House and Senate passed The Protect Excellent Teachers Act (HB805) which would allow districts to make personnel decisions based on merit. Governor Wolf chose to stand with the special interest groups who opposed HB805 and vetoed the Act days later.