GOOD

Arne Duncan's Against Seniority-Based Teacher Layoffs

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to change the policy of firing the teachers who've been in the job for the shortest time first.


With draconian cuts looming for state education budgets, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants the nation's governors to be clear: Those cuts can't hurt the quality of education children receive. To that end, when it comes to the tough decisions about laying off teachers, Duncan says the days of a last-in-first-out (LIFO) policy of layoffs are over. Instead, student achievement results need to determine which teachers get the axe.

In a conference call with reporters, Duncan denied that he's "danced around the issue" and said that labor and management have a shared responsibility to put students at the center of their relationship. And, if budgets require teachers to be fired, "Layoffs should be based on a number of factors but the most important thing we can do is keep the best teachers in schools where they are needed most."


Duncan expressed concern over the "concentration of young teachers in the most disadvantaged communities," and how when budget cuts happen, "it’s a massive disruption to those children who need the best and most support."

However, he made it clear what he doesn't want happening is for school districts to purposely fire veteran teachers just to save money. "Whether it's firing good young teachers—which doesn't make sense—or firing great veteran teachers—which doesn't make sense—we have to minimize the negative impact on students," he said.

When asked to point to a district whose layoff policy would serve as a good model, Duncan couldn't name one offhand, but he pointed to Bill Gates' suggestion of increasing the class sizes of excellent teachers and firing bad ones as strategy districts should use. "I'm a parent of two young children," he said. "If I was asked, you can have an extraordinary teacher with 28 kids in the class or a mediocre teacher with 22 kids in the class, I'll take the extraordinary teacher."

In a nod to what's going on in Wisconsin, Duncan also reiterated that although he believes unions need to change their LIFO policies, he doesn't support Governor Scott Walker's efforts to strip them of their collective bargaining rights.

photo (cc) via Flick user Center for American Progress

Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading