LA settlement limits layoffs by seniority

Up to 45 Los Angeles schools will be protected from teacher layoffs under a settlement approved last week of a lawsuit that charged seniority-based layoffs disproportionately hurt high-poverty schools, which tend to be staffed by young teachers. In addition, “layoffs in the district’s other 750 schools must be spread more equitably,” even if that means some senior teachers could lose their jobs, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The teachers’ union will appeal the order.

Seniority-based layoffs are under attack across the country.

“This year, if we are forced to lay off teachers, we will be forced to lay off some of the most effective, and keep some of the least effective,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a speech this week. “It’s not right. It’s not fair. And it’s not something we can allow to happen.”

Some hard-hit districts may have to lay off 15 to 20 percent of teachers, writes Michelle Rhee, founder of Students First,  in a New York Times op-ed. They should keep the best teachers, regardless of seniority, she writes. Twelve of the 50 states now “allow school administrators to consider teacher effectiveness in making layoff decisions.”

Ending last-in, first-out layoff policies is the priority of former NYC schools chief Joel Klein, who’s joined Education Reform Now as board chairman.

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