Daily VideoMay 11, 2011
School District Debates ‘Last Hired, First Fired’ Policy
As the school year draws to a close, school principals and superintendents across the country are facing budget cuts that force them to lay off teachers. In Hartford, Connecticut, officials are forced to lay off the teachers that were hired last, even if they show good performance in the classroom.
Teachers that are laid off are allowed to go into another school in the Hartford district and “bump” a less experienced teacher out. The teacher’s union in Hartford says experienced teachers deserve to be protected from layoffs.
However, several of Hartford’s most successful schools have been completely re-vamped to focus on certain skills, such as green technology, foreign languages and nursing. Some principals worry that the “bumping” system makes it hard to make necessary changes.
Still, despite its revolving door of teachers, the Hartford school district has shown large gains in student performance. School officials are trying to figure out what impact teacher layoffs and seniority issues are having on students and the overall classroom experience.
“I want to be able to choose the faculty that work in this school, not because they have 10 years of service, or maybe just six years of service, but in fact, that they are the best fit for our children.” – Steve Perry, Capital Preparatory High School
“Every student has a right to the most qualified teacher available and not the most senior teacher. I think that there is a growing realization that this is the emerging civil rights issue of our time.” – Steven Adamowski, Hartford Public Schools
“If you were going to have an operation, I’m sure you would want the doctor with the most experience and the most time in the surgery to be your doctor. That’s the way we look at teachers.” – Andrea Johnson, Hartford Federation of Teachers
Warm Up Questions
1. What does a principal do?2. What are some other forces (groups or individuals) that influence how your school operates?3. What is a union? How does it protect its members?
1. Did you see anything in this video that you disagree with? Agree with?
2. If a school district faces budget cuts and has to lay off teachers, how do you think those teachers should be chosen?
3. How might this issue be resolved so that all teachers feel that they’ve been treated fairly?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
After decades of isolation, Cuba could soon expand access to consumer technology and the Internet. Continue reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered the elimination of all trans fats from the food supply within the next three years, a long-awaited move that is expected to save thousands of lives per year. Continue reading
The reforms were spurred in part by the death of Kalief Browder, a former Rikers inmate who was accused of stealing a backpack at age 16. Continue reading
The racially-motivated shooting of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, SC, has spurred discussion and debate about the state of racism in America. Continue reading
Facing low graduation rates, Rainier Beach High School took an ambitious approach to turn things around. Continue reading