Reductions in Force: Iowa

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require that its school districts consider classroom performance as a factor in determining which teachers are laid off when a reduction in force is necessary.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Reductions in Force: Iowa results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/IA-Reductions-in-Force-10

Analysis of Iowa's policies

Iowa does not address the factors used to determine which teachers are laid off during a reduction in force.

Recommendations for Iowa

Require that districts consider classroom performance as a factor in determining which teachers are laid off during reductions in force.
Iowa can still leave districts flexibility in determining layoff policies, but it should do so within a framework that ensures that classroom performance is considered.  

Ensure that seniority is not the only factor used to determine which teachers are laid off.
Unlike some states, Iowa does not require that districts consider seniority; however, the state should do more to prevent districts from making decisions solely on this basis.  

State response to our analysis

Iowa recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state noted that Iowa code makes staff reduction a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.

Last word

Allowing districts to disregard performance in determining who will be laid off puts adult interests before students' needs. It is still possible to allow room for local flexibility and collective bargaining while also establishing clear state-level guidelines that indicate that performance be considered and seniority is not the sole factor in determining who is laid off during reductions in force.

Research rationale

See National Council on Teacher Quality, "Teacher Layoffs: Rethinking 'Last Hired, First-Fired' Policies." (2010); The New Teacher Project, The Case Against Quality-Blind Teacher Layoffs (2011); Boyd, Donald; Lankford, Hamilton; Loeb, Susanna; and Wyckoff, James, "Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority v. Measures of Effectiveness" The Urban Institute, CALDER (2010);  Goldhaber, Dan and Theobold, Roddy, "Assessing the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs." Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington-Bothell (2010); Sepe, Christina and Roza, Marguerite, "The Disproportionate Impact of Seniority-Based Layoffs on Poor, Minority Students." Center on Reinventing Public Education (2010).