How NOT to appreciate teachers

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In an unfortunate twist of the calendar, Teacher Appreciation Week coincides with the middle of the "RIFing" season. Ask any teacher, and s/he will be able to explain how emotional and disruptive this process is. While we recognize the bind districts are in waiting for state budgets to be finalized, we don't understand why they continue to value seniority above all else when sending out pink slips.
Minnesota's governor recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed performance to factor into schools' layoff decisions, arguing that because the state's new evaluation requirements haven't kicked in, the cart is being put before the horse. We find this less than compelling: why can't the teachers identified by the current system as underperforming—however small that group may be—be laid off first? Wouldn't that value accomplished practice, instead of date of hire?

While perhaps trying  to show their appreciation in the Southwest, a judge has sided with the teachers' union and ordered Vegas' Clark County School district to move forward with promised pay increases, even though doing so may mean laying off as many as 1,000 teachers... using seniority.

Teacher Appreciation Week should be about recognizing the energy and efforts of all  teachers, not just the superstars. Teaching is, after all, very hard work. Staffing procedures, however, should not be so indiscriminate. Policies should show effective teachers, regardless of time in the classroom, they are truly valued. Getting rid of layoffs based on seniority alone would be a good place to start.  

Katie Moyer