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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should next batch of education stimulus money affect teacher seniority rules?

Stringsattached2 Congress has just begun considering the Keep Our Educators Working Act, which would pump another $23 billion into schools to extend the stimulus, and some folks are calling for more strings to go with it. The New Teacher Project says Congress should ensure that, if teacher layoffs do happen, states and districts don't keep rules that ensure veteran teachers keep their jobs, even if they have bad evaluations.

"The 'Keep Our Educators Working Act' may postpone some layoffs, but only for so long," TNTP wrote in this statement. "When funding runs out, districts and states will again face the difficult decision of which teachers should be cut. Congress should ensure that, when the time comes, it isn't illegal for schools to try to keep their best teachers. It can do so by amending the bill to require states and districts to enact quality-based layoff policies in short order if they accept funding. Transparent, fair layoff procedures based on performance are possible -- it is only a matter of taking action."

Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter agrees:

"The politics favor using these strings. Getting any new federal money -- much less $23 billion -- will be tough under today's budget constraints. The only hope is to attract some Republicans who have been ahead of Democrats in understanding the malign influence of seniority rules in education."

Time will tell if the idea has legs. In the meantime, what do you think? Should younger teachers automatically be the first to go? For young teachers in Florida, this is not a moot question.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:00am]


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