Here are some highlights from the study:
- A study of Washington state teachers has found that deciding layoffs based solely on which teachers have the least seniority has a significant impact on students' ability to learn, adding to a growing chorus calling for schools to take a hard look at union contracts dictating who gets to keep their jobs.
- Actual layoff notice list with a list of teachers who would have been laid off using a measurement of effectiveness known as "value-added," in which teachers are judged by the improvement of their students on standardized tests.
- Using teachers' past performance, the researchers predicted the performance of two hypothetical school systems: one in which the teachers receiving notices had actually lost their jobs, and one in which more than 1,300 of the lowest-performing teachers had been fired instead.
- Dan Goldhaber, lead author of the study and the center's director, projected that student achievement after seniority-based layoffs would drop by an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 months of learning per student, when compared to laying off the least when compared to laying off the least effective teachers. If your bottom line is student achievement, then this is not the best system," Goldhaber said.
- The research found that using a strict seniority system for layoffs has a variety of other consequences, including:
- — School districts lay off more teachers to meet their budget goals because junior teachers are paid less.
- — Some districts lay off teachers in high-demand and hard-to-fill areas such as special education.
- — Seniority-based layoffs disproportionately hit schools where the most needy kids are and the least senior teachers usually work.
Read more: University of Washington Study Questions Seniority-Based Teacher Layoffs
Sent by Dunwoody Mom