Why I Support Mutual Consent

Legislation | 03/17/2016

Jessica Langford
First Grade Teacher

Jessica is a teacher at Ashley Elementary School in Denver.

I am a first grade teacher at Ashley Elementary in Denver. Based on my experience working with kids over the past 25 years, I firmly believe that it really does "take a village" when it comes to making a school a positive and successful learning environment for all students.  That is why I am concerned about a bill being considered in the state legislature. 

The state legislature is currently considering legislation that would repeal the mutual consent provision of Colorado’s educator evaluation law. Mutual consent means that both a school and the teacher choose to move forward with the hiring process. HB16-1099 would bring back what is known as “forced placement” for teachers, meaning teachers could be forced to go work at schools they don’t want to and that schools could be required to hire a teacher they have not chosen.  Forced placement undermines the ability of school leaders to find teachers that are the right fit for their school and could further exacerbate problems with high turnover in hard-to-serve schools.

Can you imagine any other profession where an employer would be told that they had to hire someone they did not think was right for the job? Those charged with the hiring decisions for a school—school leadership—know their school better than anyone and are therefore best suited to determine whether a teacher is the right fit for their school and students. Through mutual consent, school leaders are able to hire the best teacher for their school and teachers are able to select a school where they want to teach.

While schools should not be forced to hire a teacher they do not want to, it is equally problematic to force a teacher to join a school they don’t want to work in. Denver Public Schools data show that high-needs schools are the most impacted by teacher turnover and forced placement. We need teachers who are passionately committed to the success of their school, and force placing someone who is not the right fit can lead to an abandoned classroom.

It is for all of these reasons that I am urging legislators to oppose HB16-1099. 

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