Charlotte's lemons get squeezed

The Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district blazes another trail: making teacher lay-off decisions based on performance evaluations, not seniority. If that raised your eyebrows, prepare to have them meet your hairline. For coupled with these cutbacks, the district is also looking to hire 100 more Teach For America alums to fill its classrooms, and favoring TFA hires with satisfactory evaluations over more senior teachers. "The idea was that we have a relationship with these folks [TFA teachers] who are in the toughest schools and situations," explained school board member James L. Ross II. "We could build that long-term if these people can stick around." Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, offers a sage comment on the situation: "The unions need to be asking themselves why is it superintendents would even consider a strategy which looks so patently unfair to veteran teachers. They've got to come to grips with the fact that TFA is clearly bringing something to the table that other teachers do not appear to be bringing." Kudos to Charlotte for saying, "Bring it on."

"N.C. District Lets Go of Veteran Teachers, But Keeps TFA Hires," by Stephen Sawchuck, Education Week, June 12, 2009 (subscription required)