Governor’s Proposed Teacher Layoff Reforms Could Protect High Need Schools
Yesterday, the Governor’s office released its proposals to reform teacher layoff policies. The legislation, SB 955 (Huff): School Districts, would allow schools to layoff, assign, reassign, and transfer teachers and administrators based on effectiveness and subject matter needs, without regard to seniority.
According to the Governor’s Office, “Current fiscal difficulties have resulted in the loss of many recently hired but highly effective teachers, while some ineffective teachers continue to be either ignored or shuffled from school to school. These seniority provisions also disproportionately impact struggling schools in low-income neighborhoods because the teachers at these schools tend to have little seniority. These state barriers on local school districts will help California regain the luster of a school system that was the envy of the nation three decades ago.”
The proposal includes other reforms in such as the ability to expedite the dismissal of ineffective staff. Jason Song of the LA Times wrote a remarkable expose last year about the difficulties LAUSD had in dismissing even abusive teachers in its public schools.
I’m excited that the Governor has taken the issue of the impact of seniority-based layoffs seriously and that Senator Huff has agreed to carry the bill. But I think it can expect massive opposition from CTA and others. As a result, I hope that the Governor will continue to address these fixes as part of the budget process, as he indicated in his January budget. Making a change of this magnitude, correcting a problem that has had such a negative impact on our highest need schools and students, could be a significant part of his legacy.
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