July 27, 2017

Lindsey M. Williams, Esq.
Director of Communications
Office: 412-431-5900
Cell: 412-443-0226

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visigitis released the following statement in response to the passage of the Pennsylvania Senate’s school code bill (HB 178):

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers is strongly opposed to provisions in the Senate’s school code bill (HB 178) that allow furloughs of educators for “economic reasons” and require the use of teacher evaluations to determine the order of furlough and reinstatement. Thousands of educators across the Commonwealth have been furloughed since 2011 with no need for “economic reasons” to be included in the school code. We should be talking about how to fully fund our schools, not how to lay off educators.

If school districts must furlough educators, seniority is the only fair and impartial way to decide which educators will be furloughed and reinstated. The PFT, and educators across the state, are well aware of the many flaws in the Act 82 evaluation system. It is horrifying that educators would be furloughed on the basis of suspect evaluations. Teacher evaluations should be used to help teachers improve their craft. They should not be used in a debate about economic furloughs.

We are asking that the House remove these provisions before they pass their version of the school code bill.