Heather Wolpert-Gawron, who was among the estimated 19,000 school employees in California who received lay-off notices this week, offers “The Ten Commandments of a Pink Slipped Teacher.” No. 5 seems particulary important:
Thou Shalt Not Dwell on How The System is Broken to the Point of Avoiding Your Own Reality.
Heather is an award-winning middle school language arts teacher who has written widely on education and instruction, including for Teacher. Somewhat ironically—or would presciently be a better word?—she published an article with us last spring questioning the indiscriminate nature of seniority-based layoff systems:
Much as we might honor the roots of the current system, the cold hard truth is that establishing the vulnerability of a teacher based on seniority alone is bad for students. By disallowing performance as a factor in job security, teachers are being told, in effect, that "professional growth is not really important." We are shackled by a system set up to reward people based on their hire date, not on their achievements, ability, or effort.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.