education trust-west press release | http://bit.ly/ejtiEL
For Immediate Release
February 23, 2011
Contact: Eric Wagner (510) 465-6444, ext 318
(OAKLAND, CA) With school districts across California announcing budget cuts and plans for massive teacher layoffs, a new report by The Education Trust—West titled, Victims of the Churn: The Damaging Impact of California’s Teacher Layoff Policies on Schools, Students and Communities in Three Large School Districts, shows the negative impact of California’s teacher layoff policies on students in high-poverty schools in three urban school districts. These students were found to bear more than their fair share of the pain when it comes to teacher layoffs, with their schools 65 percent more likely to have a teacher laid off than a low-poverty school. Some high-poverty schools lost more than 15 percent of their teachers.
“While layoffs are a serious problem, the way they are conducted every year can make a bad situation even worse for some of our highest-need schools,” said Dr. Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, a statewide education advocacy organization. “The effects of this process can disrupt the lives of teachers, students and community members who desperately need stability in their schools to close achievement and opportunity gaps.”
The new report reveals the extent to which over-noticing touches the lives of thousands of teachers each year who receive “false” layoff notices that are never finalized because districts must submit notices before their budgets are completed. It finds that pink slips outnumbered actual layoffs in these districts by more than four to one.
The report makes a series of recommendations, including changing the layoff notification date to prevent over-noticing; giving districts explicit flexibility to protect high-poverty schools from the disproportionate impact of layoffs; replacing California’s seniority-based layoff laws with policies that emphasize job effectiveness; and providing additional authority to principals and school communities to maintain the stability of their school staff.
“With districts across the state already making plans for more layoffs this year, policymakers in Sacramento must take immediate steps to fix the impact of seniority-based layoff policies on our most vulnerable students and the future of California’s teaching corps,” Ramanathan continued. “It’s time for California to reform these dated policies and bureaucratic rules and protect the right of all students to be taught by effective teachers in stable schools.”
The full report is available online at: www.edtrustwest.org
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About The Education Trust—West
The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels pre-k through college. We expose achievement and opportunity gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.