Evaluating Teachers

By Jim Hull

“Teacher of the Year Laid Off” is a shocking headline that raises the question: Why would the best teacher get laid off?

The answer is simple. The recession has forced school districts to significantly cut costs to balance their budgets. In years past school boards could ask, “What could be cut besides teachers?” Now they can only ask which teachers should be laid off.

After years of deferring maintenance projects, lowering energy costs, reducing the number of extracurricular activities, eliminating central office positions, and implementing other cost-saving measures that did not directly impact the classroom, many districts face no other choice than to lay off teachers to balance ever-shrinking budgets.

And in most districts, the teachers laid off first are those with the least seniority, even those recently named as “Teacher of the Year.”

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