Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hundreds of Cleveland teachers, principals to lose jobs; innovation schools would be particularly hard-hit by layoffs

A spot-on email from Dr. Leigh McGuigan:


Whitney, I used to be the Senior Executive responsible for Cleveland's Innovative Schools -- a group of 10 new schools, with hand-picked and carefully trained staffs, that is vastly out-performing the rest of the District -- and literally giving the poorest kids in America different futures.  Many of these schools are as good or better than suburban schools.  The Cleveland School District announced seniority based layoffs today that it says will cost half of the teachers in these schools their jobs.  One new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) high school would lose every single one of its teachers.  Here is the link to the Plain Dealer article:


Seniority based layoffs, driven by state laws in places like Ohio and New York, are the biggest threat to quality education we face right now.  Every urban district should welcome a chance to lay off up to 10% of its teachers.  These districts should be fighting like hell to make sure they can lay off the least effective.  Instead, they acquiesce in the union-driven status quo, layoff the young teachers that have been so carefully (and expensively) recruited, selected, trained, and nurtured, and decimate the work that education reformers and philanthropists have so carefully invested in over the past decade. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this story.  In a city like Cleveland, which will die if it cannot change educational outcomes, this could be the death blow.  


Thanks for your work--you inspire so many of us!  




Dr. Leigh McGuigan



Here's an excerpt from the article he links to (full text below):

The seniority-based layoffs would knock out scores of newer teachers, who were handpicked for 10 district innovation schools created in recent years.

Chief Executive Officer Eugene Sanders said the single-gender and other specialty schools could lose half of their staffs. A science, technology, engineering and math high school, Design Lab Early College, would lose all of its teachers.

Those specialty schools are where the district has seen the kind of academic success it hopes to replicate through a sweeping "transformation plan" to be implemented next school year.

"My reaction is that of absolute dismay at both the layoff news generally, but in particular at the devastation that will cause at schools that are working," said Ann Mullin, who oversees education programs for the George Gund Foundation. The Gund and Cleveland foundations have invested millions in the specialty schools.

Mullin encouraged Cleveland residents to call legislators and complain about a state law that requires the newest teachers to be laid off first.

"There's something wrong when a state law forces removal of teachers without regard to their effectiveness in the classroom," she said.


Hundreds of Cleveland teachers, principals to lose jobs; innovation schools would be particularly hard-hit by layoffs

By Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer

April 21, 2010, 3:50AM

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