"That was just jerking us around," said Hale, who got into a verbal altercation with Tomblin's policy director, Hallie Mason, in the hallway after the vote.
Hale accused Mason of congratulating a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce staff member after the Senate committee adjourned. The Chamber supports Tomblin's bill. Mason denied making any statements to the Chamber representative, and several witnesses said they did not hear Mason make the alleged comment.
Hale and Lee also expected that Tomblin's revised bill would gut language about Teach for America, a national program that takes recent college graduates and places them in struggling schools. Instead, Tomblin's bill no longer mentions Teach for America, but permits "national teacher corps" programs to operate in West Virginia.
The state Board of Education would have to approve such programs. State school board members have repeatedly pushed for allowing Teach for America to send teachers to West Virginia. Teach for America teachers typically receive about five weeks of training before being assigned to classrooms, and many don't have teaching degrees.
"It's an insult to our teachers to take someone with five weeks of training and say they can do the job," Lee said.
The teachers unions also don't like a provision in Tomblin's bill that expands the school-year calendar. Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, said the change would help ensure West Virginia students receive 180 days of instruction and that teachers work those days.
"There's not a person around this committee room who is in business who would be willing to pay somebody a full amount for not getting the full value," Wells said.
Other changes in the revised bill:
Senate committee members voted 10-4 to approve Tomblin's education reform bill Tuesday, according to a tally released by education committee staff after the meeting.
Teachers expect their complaints with Tomblin's legislation to get a better reception in the House. House Education Committee Chairman Mary Poling, D-Barbour, is a former schoolteacher.
The Senate Finance Committee next takes up the bill on Thursday.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.