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Our Opinion: Law sends unhealthy signal on teacher selection

We consider it an unhealthy sign when health care considerations become the driving force in selecting teachers.

The Jefferson City School Board is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to hire an employment agency to provide substitute teachers.

Instigating the proposed change is a provision of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Let us be clear. We are not commenting on whether the result of such a change will be good or bad. What we find troublesome is the catalyst for the change.

We believe our best teachers embody a range of traits, talents and abilities. Among them are: Knowledge, communication skills, commitment and compassion.

The district traditionally has used these and/or similar criteria to select substitute teachers.

School board members will vote on whether to transfer that selection process to an employment agency, Kelly Services — which likely uses a selection method that meets district standards.

The transfer, however, is prompted not by improving teacher quality, but fallout from the federal health care law.

Tonight’s vote comes in the aftermath of a Dec. 9 meeting when Chief Financial Officer Jason Hoffman explained a mandate in the new federal law may required to district to offer health care to substitute teachers.

“I don’t know of a single district that does that (offers health care to substitute teachers),” Hoffman said in December.

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act.

The result of this ramification may not be detrimental, but the potential for harm increases when teacher selection becomes based on factors far removed from education.

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