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DEBATE - Seniority or Evaluations for Public School Teachers

Updated on April 8, 2012

The BIG Debate

Now that hundreds if not thousands of teachers are being laid-off across Michigan the debate as to who should be "pink-slipped" really starts to emerge. With the way that it stands now, in most school districts, it's a union issue.

If a particular teacher that has the same certification, same endorsements, and same experience as another teacher - the teacher with less seniority (years taught in that particular district) will be the one getting laid-off regardless of their evaluations, how much money they make (which would be far less than someone with more years experience), and overall performance. None of these factors are taken into consideration, just the mere fact of how many years have you taught here.

Of course the more veteran teachers will say that they have put in their time and deserve to stay as long as they like. I couldn't agree more with them, UNLESS they have become one of those teachers who are putting in their time to pad their retirement, which is based on the teachers last three years of service and averaged out. Once a teacher reaches this point, and even though some may not want to admit it, it's time for them to retire.

Here is where the debate comes in: Should teachers be laid-off based on seniority or based on evaluations? Let's face it...the only way to really know if someone is getting the job done is two ways. One, evaluate them on a common evaluation form. Two, based on the outcome, the final product or in this case...test scores, graduation rates, etc. Now I think all teachers would agree that it is very difficult to evaluate a teacher on the final product or graduation rates because in most cases they haven't actually taught every student.

But here is the biggest problem and there really is not anyway to get around this...public schools are failing in Michigan and need to be re-structured. How do we know this, because even Governor Snyder has cut the money-to-pupil substantially to show that until public schools change they are not going to get anymore money. But WHY are they failing...because public schools allow non effective teachers to remain in their positions due to years of service. Non effective teachers have no connection with their students. In this day and age, teachers need to be the students friend, counselor, coach, and (I hate to say this) mother and father. If a teacher doesn't have that "connection" with their students chances are they won't be able to teach them, that's just how kids are today.

I would love to hear teachers and actually parents input on this issue. If a teacher is against the evaluation process, my question would be, "what are you afraid of?"

Evaluations or Seniority

How should it be determined who get's laid-off?

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    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Michigan

      That's the million dollar question diamond1mo! I know school districts that have 3-4 administrators in ONE building where 2 would be plenty. It's very frustrating for our qualified educators to be out of a career when it's the teachers in a building that make a "School" not administration!

    • diamond1mo profile image

      KE Morgan 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Why is it that the administrators are the last to be laid off?

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your comments amb. I agree with your quote about the supt. - it is all about money in their eyes. However, the administration (principals) have their hands tied when it comes to layoff's. I know excellent teachers who have been told by their building principal, who has tears in their eyes, that they have to let them go due to the contract which goes by seniority when it comes down to it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      schools should not be run like the private sector. It comes down to money, not effeciveness in they eyes of the supt. when tough times approach. Teachers that are not qualified are still teaching due to the administration keeping them around, not the unions. the unions protect fair process, not longevity for inadequacy.

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      AMEN goodnewzz! Thanks for your comments and I couldn't agree more with you.

    • thegoodnewzz profile image


      7 years ago

      I believe that teachers and their unions need to put in check. No one and I mean NO ONE should be guaranteed a job simply because they belong to a certain group. Just like everyone else in the private sector, they should be given yearly evaluations and if their employers believe someone else would do the job better, then they should be replaced. End of story. No one is better or more important than anyone else and NO ONE deserves a free ride. Thanks for writing on this subject, I enjoyed it!

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your reply ewd76. And I agree with you, they should be able to stay - just as long as they are still being an effective educator.

    • ewd76 profile image


      7 years ago from Hanover, VA

      " I couldn't agree more with them, UNLESS they have become one of those teachers who are putting in their time to pad their retirement, which is based on the teachers last three years of service and averaged out. Once a teacher reaches this point, and even though some may not want to admit it, it's time for them to retire."

      If they are good teachers, let them stay as long as they are good teachers. Why would you make them leave just because they are trying to make their life better when they finally do retire?


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