Layoffs by seniority only?

Los Angeles Unified may need to lay off 5,200 teachers, notes Teacher Beat’s Stephen Sawchuk.  Should seniority decide who stays and who goes?

There are reasons to think that in California the layoffs will increasingly be viewed through a civil-rights lens. Because novice teachers and long-term substitutes tend to be disproportionately clustered in low-income schools, those schools stand to be decimated by cuts and the resulting forced placements. The American Civil Liberties Union is already beginning a lawsuit saying that LAUSD’s cuts violate students in such schools’ right to a quality public education.

New Teacher Project‘s survey shows most teachers support the use of factors other than seniority, Sawchuk points out.

Classroom management techniques were the highest-listed factor in both districts, at 57 percent and 63 percent; in both districts more than half of teachers surveyed supported teacher attendance, and about half supported using evaluation ratings. Student performance was among the less-favored factors.

California didn’t make the Race To The Top finals because reforms failed to give administrators the power to assign or lay off teachers based on competence rather than seniority, editorializes the LA Times.

We already have detailed how the rigid layoff system has left many students at Markham Middle School in Watts with rotating substitute teachers. Nor did lawmakers address the need for common-sense procedures for firing bad teachers.

Markham’s principal recruited an “all-star team” of young, idealistic teachers willing to work in an inner-city school. With little seniority, more than half were laid off last summer. But experienced teachers didn’t want to work at Markham, so the school was forced to rely on substitutes. To avoid paying more to “permanent substitutes,” schools rotate the subs, the lawsuit charges. Some classes were “taught” by 10 different people in the first semester. Are these kids getting an education?

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  1. tim-10-ber says:

    I would say this is a great time to use assessments, value-added scores, year-over-year improvement of students, etc. to determine which teachers are truly teaching the kids (and to whom the kids are responding) and the kids are learning…get rid of those where the kids over a three year period are not performing…surely the district has this data…the schools should as well…this should be done on a school by school basis vs central office doing it all…good luck, this will not be fun as good, highly effective teachers, will also get caught up in this…ugh!

  2. Actually, I doubt this data exists — especially in a district with a very high level of transience in the student population. Many of these kids not only move schools and districts, but go back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico. Often, there’s a gap when they’re out for a month or two. I got a kid this year who has missed *3 years* of school with this type of scenario.

  3. LAUSD was formed in 1903 to overcome the rampant fraud of small charter-like school districts- the same thing took place in NYC in 1905. People who don’t know their history are doomed to relive it 107 years later. When dealing with the pillars of a corrupt society, whether it is healthcare, the banks, Wall St. or public education, no matter what the fraud, these institutions remain. If LAUSD, an institution that has a bigger budget than the City of Los Angeles, was not the continuing permissive failure that it has always been, charters and other “reforms” would not be necessary. Isn’t it funny (sick) that all forms of reform have to factor in the continued existence of a totally failed LAUSD…hmm, I wonder why that is? Why not just fix the underlying problem. The vast majority of people want LAUSD gone, it is only their fear, apathy, and cynicism (teachers) that allow them to continue to be bamboozled by a large LAUSD dinosaur with no brain, just a common self-serving party line. Come to and talk about what you know. Teachers, you’re going to get scapegoated anyway.