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Teachers Layoffs / By seniority ?

School boards are now working on their budgets, so more of these stories are likely to unfold over the coming months. The problem is that state law requires districts to use seniority as the sole factor in determining which teachers to lay off even though experience doesn’t always add up to greater effectiveness — as confirmed by a recent study from The New Teachers Project. There are great teachers with three years of experience and great teachers with 33 years of experience.

Seniority made more sense when we lacked any objective way to assess teacher performance, but last June Gov. Tom Corbett and the General Assembly approved a new teacher evaluation system. Teacher performance will now be judged on a combination of classroom observations and multiple measures of student achievement.

The purpose of this evaluation system is first and foremost to provide teachers with meaningful feedback to help them improve their practice and grow into highly effective classroom leaders. If we are going to build a 21st-century education system, we need to professionalize the teaching workforce by rewarding excellent teachers and protecting them in times of layoffs. Factoring in performance-based evaluations during layoffs could be an effective way to do so — and, really, it’s just common sense.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

Capture d’écran 2013-05-21 à 13.03.01

via Don’t lay off by seniority: If we want first-rate schools, we must keep the best teachers – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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