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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Group suggests teacher layoffs aren't as bad as some say



Traveling the country, President Obama and Vice President Biden pitched their jobs bill in part by talking about the loss of hundreds of thousands of teacher jobs nationwide.

The National Council on Teacher Quality questioned the number.

"Not discounting this evidence, we've been struck by the lack of reports on layoffs in newspapers this fall. Last spring, they were all reporting about school districts handing out pink slips by the thousands, but there's been little follow up on teachers converting from pink-slip status to no-job-at-all status.

"We decided to survey school districts around the country to find out what happened. We sent surveys to 78 large urban districts, located in 42 states."

Eight Florida school districts were part of the survey. And the finding was that just 2.5 percent of teachers were laid off or non-renewed. Excluding some severely hit California districts, the percentage of layoffs dropped to 1.5 percent. About half reported no layoffs, including five of the eight from Florida. 

They didn't come close to 160,000 of layoffs, the NCTQ concluded (though admitting its survey was not necessarily a representative sample).

Other things the districts did to save money included eliminating positions through attrition, using stimulus funds to protect jobs, and cutting district-level jobs instead. The group's perspective:

"Not discounting the pain districts are feeling, one thing is still certain: Districts went on a hiring spree in public education over the past decade, with the teacher workforce growing at nearly twice the pace of the growth in the student population (8.7 percent vs. 4.9 percent). Next time districts feel their wallets swell a bit, we hope they might resist the urge to hire, given that it's not at all clear what it accomplished in terms of growth in student achievement."


[Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011 2:54pm]


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