A Smarter Teacher Layoff System: How Quality-Based Layoffs Can Help Schools Keep Great Teachers

 

A Smarter Teacher Layoff System coverMoving from quality-blind to quality-based layoffs is
integral to today’s education-reform agenda. Yet figuring out how best to pull
this off in a productive, teacher-friendly manner has been a whopping
challenge. Enter this New Teacher Project (TNTP) brief, which offers a novel
method for districts engaging in quality-based layoffs. Based on a survey of
9,000 teachers from two large, urban districts, TNTP presents a “scorecard” of
weighted factors that the organization (as well as the teachers it surveyed)
believes should be considered in layoff decisions. This scorecard includes
teacher performance ratings, classroom-management skills, attendance, and
support for extra-curricular activities—along with years with the district.
(Conspicuously lacking is credit for graduate credit hours and advanced
degrees: Only one-third of surveyed teachers supported including this factor in
layoff decisions.) TNTP’s brief offers a method for handling layoffs that is
both tangible enough to be implemented and flexible enough to be adapted for
district need. The one caveat: While the brief’s workable model for making
layoff decisions is an excellent first step, it does not go further to address
how teachers’ performance and classroom-management skills should be
judged—probably because their surveyed teachers counted principal opinion as
the least appropriate factor for making layoff decisions.

The New Teacher Project, “A Smarter Teacher Layoff System: How Quality-Based Layoffs Can
Help Schools Keep Great Teachers
,” (Brooklyn, NY: The New Teacher Project,
March 2011).

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