Teaching Profession

“Last Hired, First Fired” Back in the News

By Stephen Sawchuk — February 23, 2010 1 min read

Two big pieces came out last week on “last hired, first fired” layoff policies in school districts, no doubt due to the continuing poor economy and the looming “funding cliff” created by the economic-stimulus legislation.

I wrote about this not-well-publicized policy a while ago, so it’s heartening to see it gaining some additional attention.

In her piece for The Wall Street Journal, Barbara Martinez has some interesting quotes from parent advocates, who stand to play an important role in the debate over whether these policies should be rethought.

The National Center on Teacher Quality, in the meantime, has a paper out that looks at the largest 100 districts’ layoff policies and makes recommendations on how these policies might be tweaked or overhauled to take performance or other factors into consideration. Using its database of collective bargaining contracts, the NCTQ finds that only 25 districts use factors other than seniority in layoffs. It also notes the important fact that teachers who are laid off frequently retain “recall rights” to return to the school system, sometimes for years, further hampering the hiring process down the road.

Does anyone know if there are any laid-off junior teachers who’ve gotten together to mobilize in protest of these layoffs? Drop me a line, if so.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.