"A Smarter Teacher Layoff System: How Quality-Based Layoffs Can Help Schools Keep Great Teachers in Tough Economic Times
Amid signs that the economy will force school districts across the country to lay off teachers in the coming months, this policy brief shows strong teacher support for ending “quality-blind” layoff policies based strictly on seniority. It details an alternative approach to layoffs that would help schools retain their best teachers and reduce the impact on students when layoffs become unavoidable, while still valuing seniority appropriately. The proposed "quality-based" layoff system reflects the views of more than 9,000 teachers surveyed in two large urban districts."
Some excerpts with my highlights:
"Though quality-blind layoff rules represent a well-intentioned attempt to solve a difficult problem fairly, they amount to poor policy-making on several levels. A relic of a factory-model approach to labor management relations that treats teachers like widgets, they demean teachers by ignoring substantial differences in performance. In some districts, these rules have forced schools to give layoff notices to “teacher of the year” award winners and nominees;"
"Most importantly, though, QUALITY-BLIND LAYOFFS HURT STUDENTS BY DEPRIVING THEM OF EXCELLENT TEACHERS WHO ARE FORCES TO LEAVE simply because they have not taught as long as others. Compounding the problem is the fact that layoffs put a heavier burden on the remaining teachers, who face larger classes and more out-of-classroom responsibilities. In these challenging circumstances, it is especially critical that the teachers who remain be highly effective. IF SUCH TEACHERS ARE NOT PROTECTED DURING LAYOFFS, THEIR JOBS MAY INSTEAD FALL TO TEACHERS WHO CANNOT BE EFFECTIVE UNDER MORE DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES—or who were not as effective even before the layoffs occurred."
"Districts and unions must act now to replace quality-blind layoff rules with fair, transparent POLICIES THAT PUT THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS FIRST and allow schools to retain their best teachers in times of upheaval. The best solution is to use data from credible teacher evaluations, which will take time for most districts to develop. But districts cannot afford to wait, and they do not have to wait. They can implement quality-based layoff rules using information that is already available to make significant progress toward their goal of retaining their best teachers during layoffs."