The Providence, R.I. school board voted Thursday to send termination letters to all its 1,926 teachers.
Sounds drastic, doesn’t it? And why might the school board have done this? According to the Providence Journal:
Teachers begged the School Board to issue layoffs rather than fire them outright because, under the layoff provisions, teachers are recalled based on seniority. There is no guarantee that seniority would be used to bring back any of the fired teachers. School leaders have been vague about exactly how seniority will play out in the case of terminations.
The mandated last-in first-out layoff system is rightfully under siege. The Providence school board’s action is sure to escalate matters, and probably beyond Rhode Island.
For some perspective, read The New Teacher Project’s new policy brief on the issue. The crux:
Quality-blind layoff policies threaten to make this year’s layoffs catastrophic. Talented new teachers will lose their jobs while less effective teachers remain. More job losses will be necessary to meet budget reduction goals, because the least senior teachers are also the lowest-paid. And, as is all too common, the most disadvantaged students will be hit hardest, because they tend to have the newest teachers. These outcomes are intolerable.
The policy brief singles out Colorado because under Senate Bill 10-191, districts must consider teacher effectiveness before seniority in making layoff decisions. Rhode Island, by contrast, is one of 14 states that require “quality-blind” layoffs. When economic times get tough and policymakers feel painted into a corner, actions like the one in Providence are what result.
Popularity: 30% [?]