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

Moving 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.

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

The
New Teacher Project
March
2011

More By Author