In tough times, who do you lay off?

Teacher effectiveness is the theme of this week’s National Journal experts discussion. At the labor-management conference, Education Arne Duncan warned that there are tough decisions ahead in many districts about which teachers are retained and which are laid off. 

 “If you have to make tough calls, you have to figure out for the most disadvantaged communities how you keep your best talent,” he said.

. . . Are there ways to evaluate teachers such that in lean times, the best ones stay on the job? Or are those kinds of assessments so fraught with peril that it makes more sense to make a clean cut from the bottom or the top?

Make sure you’re defining and measuring what you really care about, writes University of Colorado Professor Kevin Welner.  Then, “make sure you’re creating the right incentives.”

In the abstract, making personnel decisions based on effectiveness is a no-brainer. But the approach needs to be balanced, bringing in multiple measures that capture a full picture of teaching quality.

Welner thinks value-added scores should be used for only 15 percent of a teacher’s evaluation because of reliability issues.

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  1. georgelarson says:

    is this a moot point? Don’t union contracts determine this?