Teacher-Layoff Policies Examined in 2 CALDER Studies
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2011— Faced with budget shortfalls, states and localities are considering cuts to K-12 education, including reductions in teaching staff. Consequently, governors, lawmakers, and school officials are taking a second look at seniority provisions in their collective bargaining agreements and weighing the costs and benefits of the prevailing system under which the last hired is typically the first fired.
Two recent CALDER studies, one using data from New York City and the other using data from Washington state, compare scenarios in which teachers are laid off according to measures of their effectiveness versus the seniority system currently in place. The studies reach the same conclusions: students in affected classrooms receive a better education and fewer teaching posts are lost under effectiveness-based policies.
Both studies show the downside of seniority-based layoff policies, but they caution against using any single factor (such as value-added measures) to determine which teachers to let go.
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CALDER, supported by a grant from the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, is a joint project of the American Institutes for Research and scholars at Duke University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Washington.