Charlotte layoffs: diet or purge?

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A few months back TQB noted that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was laying off teachers while going ahead with plans to bring in new Teach For America recruits. In the wake of those 800+ layoffs, the district has since posted more than 250 job openings, many of them teaching positions.

The district says the new positions are the result of stimulus money. But surely those funds were known before the layoffs were decided, not to mention that creating new positions out of temporary federal dollars violates Basic District Accounting 101.

Recession math can be hard to calculate, but something about this equation just doesn't add up.

It seems more like the district used the recession to give them cover for "layoffs" that were really performance-based dismissals. The district's layoff plan did not completely pass over seniority as a criterion because nontenured teachers--those in their first three years--were the first group targeted. Within that group, though, it was teachers with low evaluations or license issues who got the pink slips.

Why the smoke screen? Because districts will do anything to avoid the firestorm that comes from openly firing teachers--even probationary teachers with poor evaluation ratings.

It shouldn't take a global economic meltdown to get ineffective teachers out of schools.