Starving Beast Snacks On Teacher Tenure Protections?


If you can spell "retirement," thank a teacher

Teachers unions have long operated on the "the last shall be first" principle when it comes to layoffs: Last hired, first fired, almost no questions asked.

But states are running out of money, and Dropout Nation's RiShawn Biddle spots a trend of three that suggests starving the state government beasts may be taking a bite out of previously sacrosanct teacher tenure protections.

In addition to teacher firings in D.C. (something I wrote about at length here), there's California:

Last month, the gargantuan Los Angeles Unified School District presented a plan to end last hired-first fired as part of a series of reforms of how it will pay for—and manage—teacher performance….California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democrat-dominated state legislature—which has been unified on school reform as of late—may end up abolishing a state law mandating reverse-seniority layoffs by year's end.

And New York:

Besides convincing New York State legislators to consider a proposal to eliminate state rules mandating last hired-first fired layoffs, it is also rallying the 30,000 new teachers it has hired this past decade—28 percent of whom would lose jobs under any proposed layoff—to challenge the AFT local's defense of the status quo. Declared the school district's chancellor, Joel Klein, last month in the New York Times: "Nobody I've talked to thinks seniority is a rational way to go."

Biddle writes that 36 percent of teachers are Boomers, on their way to retirement, and hopes that when they start to cash out in droves, "last hired-first fired (along with tenure) may go the way of the Lava Lamp."