March 12, 2009

Hard Decisions

It's getting tough all over, especially when it comes to making choices these days.  I was just struck by this reading two powerful and interesting posts in my reader.

The first one comes from the great Science Goddess and she wants to know if there's a better way of deciding when teachers are displaced.  Right now the norm is to let the teachers with the least seniority go, but that hardly seems fair.  Yet if we let principals decide on their own you know what a mess that would be.  I'd think a democratic group of administrators and teachers would be the best choice (and maybe not even ones from the same schools) but that's still asking for more time and uncomfortable choices than many will want.  How do we decide who is an "effective teacher" anyway?  Not just test scores, surely?  Food for thought, anyway.

The next one is from a speech given by our state's media association president to the legislature on the possible passing of a bill which would let administrators use media center money for other purposes.  This one seems clearer to me, but then I'm obviously biased in favor of school libraries.  Although is it really a bias when all the evidence points to agreement with your position?

(image cc "switch")


C. B. James said...

Unfortunately, two very timely questions. Displacement by seniority may be terrible, but I suspect it's probably the best way. It's just the best way to do something terrible. I hear lots of talk about how good teachers will have to be let go, etc. and while there are many real examples of this, I just don't buy the idea that there are 100's of thousands of excellent teachers out there just waiting for their chance. There's still a shortage overall, and nationwide we're probably looking at several hundred thousand layoff notices this year. There's 53 in my district of about 7000 students.

When you have to lay off that many people by March 14, there's no way you can fairly and accurately look at much more than credentials and seniority.

Of course there would be no problem if education was actually fully funded. But I'm a dreamer.

C. B. James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In my district in FL. it is done by seniority, only, because there is a strong union in control. I look at a few, very few who are not senior that would be the first that I would look at--but not a fair way. I can't imagine having to tell a teacher she or he is going to be displaced. I've seen a lot of it over 30 years and it is an awful thing to observe. I wish there was a fair and balanced way to do it.

Teacherninja said...

C.B.--You are probably right. But we can keep dreaming.

Anon--Yep, but I guess C.B. has a point in that there is an overall shortage and the good teachers will find a place.