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DEBATE - Seniority or Evaluations for Public School Teachers
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?"