Last-in-First-out Policy Hurts Our Schools and Students

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The Commonwealth Foundation says Rep. Jim Cox has introduced an important amendment ending the odious Last In, First Out policy, in which teacher layoffs are administered on the basis of seniority.

You won’t find me agreeing with the Commonwealth Foundation on most issues, but this should be an obvious move.

Would it be fair to administer layoffs via a lottery? I think most people would say it wasn’t. And yet using seniority as the criterion completely ignores teacher effectiveness.

The teacher’s unions who are protecting LIFO are essentially endorsing the right wing position that teachers don’t matter.  And if teachers don’t matter, then the tea people are right that cutting teaching jobs and school budgets won’t have any impact on education outcomes.

People who think teachers have a measurable effect on student achievement need to get behind ending LIFO.

This entry was posted in Education, Labor and Unions.

6 Responses to Last-in-First-out Policy Hurts Our Schools and Students

  1. Bruce Bailey says:

    You're flat wrong on this. "Last in, First Out" is the only way to protect experienced and valuable teachers from school boards and administrators that want to reduce payroll no matter what the cost to effective schools and great teaching. Evaluations and ratings are subject to the whims and the politics of those who create them, and they can be easily slanted in either direction. If you have bad teachers in a public school, there are guidelines for disciplining and firing them, but districts seem reluctant to follow this straighforward path. Instead, they'd rather open the door to gross abuse by doing away with "LIFO". This is a radical solution to a non-problem.

    • Jon says:

      LIFO is no better than random firings. You might as well be picking the names out of a hat. Literally any form of evaluation would be more fair than this.

      Like it or not, some form of teacher evaluation is going to happen sooner or later. Not every evaluation method is fair, but some are better than others, and I think the teachers' unions would be smart to come up with a plan they can accept before the people who hate teachers come up with a much worse plan.

    • Greg says:

      Why is it then, that with all these "experienced and valuable teachers," kids are doing worse and worse?

  2. Bruce Bailey says:

    Who says kids are doing "worse and worse"? Well, mostly it's people that want to funnel taxpayer money into vouchers and charter schools. People who want to do whatever they can to sabotage the entire concept of public education as part of an overall plan to "reduce government until it's small enough to drown in a bathtub." People that want to kill unions, especially public employee unions. This is not motivated by people that want to make schools better…it's motivated by people that want to cripple public education. And buying into their rhetoric just gives them that much more momentum.

    • Greg says:

      Um, the fact that they can't go to college, or need remedial help when they do. Dropping test scores and measurable outcomes. Where've the teachers been while all that's been going on for the past 20+ years?

      • Bruce Bailey says:

        Um, more kids going to college means more kids who need help in doing the work. Check the numbers, Greg. Average SAT scores: 1980: 502 Verbal, 492 Math…2005: 508 Verbal, 520 Math. And that's with a much higher universe of kids taking the test now vs. 1980. Don't buy in to the propaganda.