'Last in, first out' is an outrage
Rhee and Klein on the last-in, first-out outrage:
Cities and states across the nation are facing crippling budget deficits, and the impact for our schools is devastating: teacher layoffs, decimated programs and stalled school construction. But these budget cuts also offer us a unique chance to rethink the way we make education decisions, especially the way we decide which teachers to keep when layoffs are necessary.
From New York to California, our policies governing teacher layoffs during tough economic times are controlled by a system known as "Last In, First Out" (LIFO). This policy dictates that when there are layoffs, the most recently hired teachers in the system are the first to be fired. These decisions are based solely on seniority, without regard for teacher effectiveness.
The policy has three major negative impacts: first, it removes many high-performing tenured and non-tenured teachers from the classroom, while retaining those that are less effective but have more years in the system; second, it causes a higher number of layoffs, since junior teachers are paid the least; and finally, it disproportionately impacts the lowest performing schools, which have the largest number of new teachers.
Virtually no other business or large-scale system makes personnel decisions this way, with good reason.
'Last in, first out' is an outrage: Firing less senior teachers hurts schoolkids, say Klein and Rhee
Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 4:00 AM