Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Keep Our Educators Working Act" Should Support Smarter Layoff Policies

Here's an excerpt from TNTP's thoughtful proposal that Alter links to (full text below):

NEW YORK, NY—The "Keep Our Educators Working Act" proposes to provide $23 billion in federal funding to help states fight a looming wave of teacher layoffs due to deep budget cuts nationwide. Saving teachers' jobs' is a laudable goal, but even more important is minimizing the impact of the recession on America's students.

Unfortunately, teacher layoff policies in most cities and states make a bad situation worse by forcing schools to ignore teacher quality in layoff decisions. Instead, layoffs are based strictly on teachers' seniority in the school system. The newest teachers are laid off first, regardless of their talent or results. Inevitably, extraordinary teachers are cut while less effective teachers are retained. In some states, even teacher-of-the-year award winners have received pink slips.

Even more tragically, layoffs based on seniority disproportionately affect the neediest students, who are more likely to have newer teachers and who commonly face severe educational disadvantages. In New York City, for example, three of the five community school districts projected to face the highest percentages of layoffs are in the South Bronx. Schools in these areas may lose 1 in 5 teachers.

Seniority-based layoffs fall short as a fiscal solution as well; because the newest teachers earn the lowest salaries, limiting layoffs exclusively to novice teachers means more teachers must be cut to achieve the same budget reduction goal.


"Keep Our Educators Working Act" Should Support Smarter Layoff Policies


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