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."

Keep Reading
Articles

Can We Improve Education By Increasing Class Size?

Bill Gates says that smaller class sizes aren't necessarily the answer. How about we pilot his idea at private schools?


Microsoft genius Bill Gates has a counter-intuitive, money-saving idea that he says might just boost student achievement: strategically raise class sizes. In advance of a national governors gathering, Gates expressed his concern over looming education budget cuts. But he's not convinced that education cuts necessarily have to harm students. Gates says that instead of using seniority to lay off teachers, school districts could save money by firing bad teachers and putting more students into the classrooms of teachers who get stellar student achievement results.

What's in it for the high achieving teachers? Financial incentives. But, even with teachers getting a bonus for taking on more students, Gates says school districts would still save money because they'd have fewer teachers overall. And, students might benefit and actually learn more from being in the room with a great teacher instead of languishing in the classroom of someone who's incompetent. "There are people in the field who think class size is the only thing," Gates said. "But in fact, the dominant factor is having a great teacher in front of the classroom."

Keep Reading
Articles

Joel Klein Compares Teachers to Murderers

The former schools chancellor heads across the pond and slams Gotham's teachers.


Who's easier to get rid of, a teacher or someone arrested for first degree murder? According to former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, "It's easier to prosecute a capital-punishment case in the U.S. than terminate an incompetent teacher."

Of New York City's teachers, Klein said, "Five to 10 percent are not remotely capable," and he reiterated his belief that unions are more interested in protecting "incompetent workers" than educating children.

Keep Reading
Articles