Which teachers should be let go?

Feb 14, 2011, 2:32 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

If teacher layoffs are needed as school districts around the state balance budgets, who should go first?

Under the current system, teachers with the most seniority are protected from cuts. Some lawmakers are trying to change that with a bill that would allow districts to cut those who aren’t effective, regardless of how long they’ve been on the job. Teachers “with a track record of closing the achievement gap” would be safe.

Sonya Langford, a seventh grade teacher in the University Place School District, wrote an interesting “letter to the editor” for the Tacoma News Tribune . She says the proposed House legislation would “send our public schools back years.”

Here is part of her commentary, posted with Ms. Langford’s permission:

We cannot allow national groups, with little knowledge of what works in Washington, to derail our good work and promote their own agenda. School staffing decisions and policies should be determined at the local level, since every community has different needs. HB 1609 forces a top-down approach on school staffing decisions.

Teacher evaluation systems are designed to help teachers improve and strengthen their skills so they are more effective. Instead, HB 1609 misuses teacher evaluations to lay off teachers. Separately from that provision, HB 1609 changes local teacher transfer policies so that even teachers with solid track records could lose their jobs. This bill would establish Washington’s version of the infamous “rubber rooms” of New York and could terminate good teachers with strong evaluations.

[Rubber rooms are reassignment centers where hundreds of suspended teachers go each school day instead of the classroom while their cases are pending. The teachers can sit for years and do nothing while still getting paid.]

If anything, we should be training more eager, motivated educators to teach in classrooms where our children can receive the individualized attention they need and deserve. This bill discourages people from entering the teaching profession, because instead of encouraging them to grow and improve their teaching skills, it pits one teacher against another.

This bill does not improve class size or prevent teacher layoffs, and it doesn’t protect new teachers from layoffs. It does not help teachers improve their skills. This bill does not resolve funding issues and does not allow for local decision-making. It absolutely does not encourage collaboration in professional learning communities that we know improves teacher effectiveness.

Our students deserve better than this misguided legislation. That’s why the statewide professional associations representing teachers, principals, superintendents, classified staff and school boards all oppose this bill. I urge our local legislators to respect the concerns educators have raised and oppose HB 1609.

The issue – lay off teachers who have the least seniority? Or cut those who are the least effective?

The News Chick Blog

The wife of Seattle attorney Danford Grant moved his car away from one of the alleged crime scenes ...
No Author

Equal justice for Seattle lawyer accused of several rapes?

Has accused serial rapist Danford Grant gotten preferential treatment because both he and his wife are Seattle attorneys?
10 years ago
The Seattle-based I Can Has Cheezburger network now includes 60 humor sites. Many of their 90 emplo...
No Author

Seattle humor network, built with funny cat pictures, becomes a reality TV show

A small Internet empire with a funny name has billions of page views on its network of 60 humor websites based in Seattle. Now, I Can Has Cheezburger has a reality TV show too.
10 years ago
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle. Wa...
No Author

Democracy and dollar signs – 2012 campaign spending

Washington initiative campaigns spent $34 million trying to win your vote, while President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33 every second this election cycle.
10 years ago
Chef Tom Douglas says Seattle’s restaurants are ‘a little homemade’ compared with...
No Author

Chef Tom Douglas says ‘Seattle is a funny restaurant town’

Chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas, with 13 Seattle restaurants and more on the way, says Seattle is a "funny restaurant town."
10 years ago
Investigation continues into why a commander of the Bremerton-based Stennis carrier group was remov...
No Author

New ‘crazy’ conspiracy theory on Stennis Rear Admiral

The Pentagon shoots down theories about why the commander of the USS Stennis Carrier Group was removed from duty and sent back to the homeport in Bremerton.
10 years ago
Seattle photographer Paul Souders captures an adult polar bear up close in Hudson Bay in Churchill,...
No Author

Seattle photographer comes face to face with a polar bear

A wildlife photographer, who lives in Ballard, has taken thousands of stunning shots. None put him on "a razor's edge" more than a series of photos swimming with a polar bear.
10 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Which teachers should be let go?