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ERIC Number: ED518138
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
The Case Against Quality-Blind Teacher Layoffs: Why Layoff Policies That Ignore Teacher Quality Need to End Now
New Teacher Project
Over the past two years, federal stimulus funding has protected schools from some of the worst effects of the recession. But as federal support wanes and states face looming deficits, deep cuts are becoming unavoidable. School districts will almost certainly be forced to lay off teachers to make ends meet. Given decades of research showing that the quality of education a child receives depends more on the quality of his or her teacher than any other school factor, one might assume that schools would do everything possible to protect their best teachers from being cut. Unfortunately, most layoff decisions will completely ignore a teacher's performance. In fact, in 14 states, it is illegal for schools to consider any factor other than a teacher's length of service when making layoff decisions. The newest teachers always get cut first, even if they are "Teacher of the Year" award winners. Ignoring teacher performance in layoffs is a prime example of the "widget effect"--treating teachers like interchangeable parts. Quality-blind layoff policies threaten to make this year's layoffs catastrophic. Talented new teachers will lose their jobs while less effective teachers remain. More job losses will be necessary to meet budget reduction goals, because the least senior teachers are also the lowest-paid. As is all too common, the most disadvantaged students will be hit hardest, because they tend to have the newest teachers. These outcomes are intolerable. States and school districts still have time to put common sense back into their layoff policies. This document summarizes recent research on the effects of quality-blind layoffs and explains why layoff decisions should be based on what teachers achieve with their students, not when they started teaching.
New Teacher Project. 186 Joralemon Street Suite 300, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Tel: 718-233-2800; Fax: 718-643-9202; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: New Teacher Project