Tempest in a Seniority Teapot?
But let's take a step back and look at what really happened. Despite the winners' elation, seniority has not been dismantled at all. This archaic way of deciding who stays and who goes is still very much with us. While the ruling does protect students at the lowest 45 performing schools, students at the rest of the 750 LAUSD campuses will still lose some excellent teachers only because they were the last hired.
Hence, the onerous seniority rules are still in force in about 95% of the district's schools.
The winners: the children at the bottom performing schools who will not lose any teachers due to the seniority system.
The losers: the children at all the other district schools who will absorb the brunt of the decision.
Hardly a landmark decision in my book. But if it's ultimately shown to be the first small but necessary step in the complete dismantling of a system that discriminates against good teachers and ultimately children, then I will happily reconsider my position.
Last week, I was invited to go on a national television program and explain my views on the ruling. The producer's plan was to have a second party who would malign the judge's decision and defend the union position which supports district-wide seniority. Interestingly, the segment was canceled because despite great efforts, no willing party could be found to take the union side. Apparently, many calls and emails to UTLA and CTA were not returned.
I can only assume that the unions know that promoting an unfair and child-unfriendly position would further erode their already dwindling public respect.
The other losers in this case: the teachers unions, who are starting to see their vise-like grip on public education very slowly beginning to slip away.