Rebecca Whitford had a spotless 25-year record as an elementary school teacher, 在斯塔福德县的最后15个案子中，没有受到谴责，也没有任何麻烦的迹象, 并得到父母的大力支持, 学生, 和管理员.
Then one day in May 2017, the Stafford Education Association member sent a text message.
It was only her second year of teaching third grade since the Standards of Learning tests had been implemented; she and her team were prepping for the math section, 最近参加了阅读测试. During a conversation with a teacher from outside Stafford at home during the Memorial Day weekend, the other teacher mentioned that children most often make mistakes in areas such as elapsed time, 分数, 还有加钱和数钱.
这些东西并不是什么秘密. “They’re all listed on the State Board of Education website as strands that must be taught and will be on the test,凯西·李说, VEA的律师.
惠特福德给她的队友发了短信, 提醒他们和学生一起复习这些题目, 还说"一只小鸟"告诉过她. “它改变了我的生活，”她现在说.
她点击了“发送”键，然后享受了剩下的假期周末. 星期二她回到学校的时候，什么也没说, but Wednesday she was summoned to a meeting with her principal and a local SOL representative. 在那里, 她被问到BET9手机下载课文的问题, 她的信息来源(她选择至今不透露), 还有她为什么要发这个信息. 这条短信是由一位同事报告的.
“I’ve never cheated in my life,美国华福说, “and there was no reason for me to cheat on the SOLs. 我从来没有被我学生的考试成绩吓倒. 我知道我是一个好老师，我的老板和我学生的父母也知道. 我对我的工作充满热情.”
然而, immediately after the meeting she was asked to write and sign a letter stating exactly what she’d done. 后,, 她收到一封信，通知她现在正在休假, 带薪, and suggesting that she not return to school property until after her case was resolved. She was allowed to get her things from her classroom (her principal honored her request to have the 学生 leave the room first), 示出.
晚些时候, she learned that she’d been recommended for dismissal from her job and revocation of her teaching license for violation of secure testing procedures.
Thus began a lengthy process of hearings and meetings that lasted until March 2018 and resulted in Whitford being fired by Stafford County and having her teaching license suspended for the rest of that school year. 在旷日持久的法律活动期间, 她做家庭教师，在斯波特西瓦尼亚县做代课教师. 她还获得了三份教学工作, but was hesitant to bring a new employer into the still-unresolved proceedings.
学校对惠特福德穷追不舍, seeking not only her termination but the permanent revocation of her teaching license. Steady advocacy on Whitford’s behalf by both Lee and a VEA-provided attorney staved off the permanent loss of her license, 实际上挽救了她的事业. Her case was also buoyed by the appearance of 22 witnesses who showed up at a public hearing to testify on her behalf.
“我有一个50人的名单,美国华福说, 她显然为所得到的大量支持而感动, 但他们不会让那么多人参与. 我不认识的人都想替我说话.” 成员s of the Stafford Education Association wore red to show that they were behind her, 她的同事们都站在她这边.
“如果你解雇她,一位老师告诉县学校董事会, “BET9手机下载该如何准备SOL测试?? 当学生参加SAT考试时, 你总是看过去考试中最难的问题.”
但最终，学校董事会还是决定解雇惠特福德. 今天, 然而, 所有的法律事务都解决了, she has her license again and was quickly hired to teach second grade in Spotsylvania County, 她很高兴能重新开始她的职业生涯.
“我很高兴能回来做我喜欢做的事, 帮助孩子们学习，让他们成为最好的自己,”她说. “这是我一直想做的.”
The whole process was an extremely painful ordeal for Whitford and so VEA’s Lee, 斯塔福德和斯波特西瓦尼亚教育协会的成员, VEA的政府关系团队, 美国华福UniServ董事, and others decided that no other Virginia teacher should ever have to endure again what she went through.
First, VEA initiated legislation that’s come to be known as “丽贝卡法案.该法案顺利通过了2019年的联合国大会，并将于7月1日成为法律. 就像学校法以前写的那样, school boards had only two choices in teacher license proceedings: revocation or suspension, 都是非常严厉的措施. 丽贝卡·比尔(见附页), 是由斯塔福德的代表鲍勃·托马斯主持的, 增加一个谴责选项, 这不会直接影响教师执照吗.
“这是一个巨大的胜利，”李说. 除了吊销某人的执照之外，其他所有职业都有其他选择, 比如建议继续教育或治疗, 在药物滥用的情况下. 教师们没有得到这种机会.”
She notes that the new option is especially important in light of a seemingly more punitive environment for teachers that’s developed in recent years. 2016-17学年, petitions to suspend or revoke teacher licenses at the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) grew an alarming 62 percent from the previous year.
惠特福德对议会的胜利感到高兴. “这么多人支持我，我很自豪,”她说, “and how they turned a bad situation into something that will now benefit all teachers in Virginia.”
The process Whitford had to go through also underscored how the license hearing process at the State Board of Education has been stacked against teachers. 执照受到威胁的教师必须先被开除, 接着是起诉, and the teacher’s attorney had no chance to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. 此外，检察官参与了小组的审议工作.
协会开始了一个进程, beginning with VDOE staff and later including State Board of Education members, to get the hearing procedures changed to provide basic due process for teachers. 沿着这条路, VEA staffers met with Attorney General Mark Herring and members of his staff to make the case for more equitable procedures.
结果? 截至去年11月, in license hearings the VDOE must present its case first and has the burden of proof. 教师代表可以盘问证人, 有一个公正的实况调查小组, and the State Superintendent can no longer participate in deliberations at the final hearing before the Board of Education—all changes that Lee calls “absolutely tremendous” for teachers.
The following is an excerpt of a Code of Virginia section affected by House Bill 2325, “丽贝卡法案,处理学校董事会雇员的纪律. 斜体字是法案对本法典的修改.
A. The Board of Education may (i) issue written reprimand to or (ii) suspend or revoke the administrative or teaching license of any holder of a Board-issued administrative or teaching license who knowingly and willfully commits any of the following acts related to secure mandatory tests administered to 学生 as required by this title or by the Board of Education:
就本节而言, “安全测试”指的是一个项目, 问题, or test that has not been made publicly available by the Department of Education (emphasis ours).