Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 :::

A good list of improvements to seek in managing the schools:
Kill the "last in, first out" rule -- which requires, in the case of layoffs, that the most recently hired teachers, no matter how good, be laid off first. It makes no sense to spend time and resources recruiting new teachers and then require that the newest teachers be fired first, without regard to merit, in tough economic times.

There is a broad consensus that the worst-performing schools should be closed. But when school closings mean the loss of teaching jobs, state law requires that layoffs take place on a "last in, first out" basis systemwide. In other words, teachers at other schools with less seniority must be laid off before teachers in the poorest-performing schools.

This means that teachers in the worst schools would be retained if they have sufficient seniority and added to the "Absent Teacher Reserve." From there they might find other teaching jobs within the system. If not, they'd be paid at taxpayer expense for the rest of their careers. Meanwhile, schools that are working well would have to lose some of their newer teachers.

It's a mind-boggling system -- designed to protect the worst-performing teachers, rather than the students and taxpayers.

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::: posted by dWj at 11:46 AM

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by that state law -- you're not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, or merit, just on how long an employee has paid union dues.

I don't really have a broad knowledge of state laws, but my general impression is that New York has worse laws than Massachusetts.
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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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