Bumping Human Resources: Giving Principals More Say Over Staffing

Through an analysis of its extensive teacher-union contract database,
this National Council on Teacher Quality policy brief explains that,
when it comes to school staffing, districts sharply limit the authority
of principals. Multiple contractual and bureaucratic obstacles get in
the way of HR moves by school principals. Perhaps most problematic is
the practice of giving senior teachers “bumping rights”—forcing
principals to fill empty slots with teachers they may not want. All is
not lost, however. The brief also suggests solutions and points to a few
districts that are putting them into practice: For example, end forced
placements of teachers, as in New York City, and make better use of
teacher evaluations, as in D.C.’s new teacher contract, which links
final-year evaluations to firing practices. In and of themselves, these
solutions won’t revolutionize entrenched district HR practices; but they
offer tangible mechanisms for how school leaders can gain some control
over staffing.

National Council on Teacher Quality, “Bumping HR: Giving Principals More Say Over Staffing,” (Washington, D.C.: National Council on Teacher Quality, October 2010).

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