Columnist: To save teacher jobs, tackle seniority rules
Cutting Race to the Top won't better the odds that Congress will find $10 billion to keep teachers from being laid off, says Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter. But modifying the last-hired-first-fired system for determining layoffs might:
With a little imagination, there’s a grand compromise available: money to prevent layoffs in exchange for a requirement that seniority no longer be the only factor in determining layoffs (it could continue to be one of four or five factors). But according to an administration source, this was apparently considered and rejected by the president without any serious effort to determine if it could win enough Republican votes in the Senate. (White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel disputes this account.) ...
The brutal truth is that teachers’ unions don’t care much about protecting young, great teachers (often union members, but less influential ones) who will get laid off soon. Instead, the unions and their lackeys in Congress and state legislatures will go down fighting for older teachers, even if they’re lemons of the year.