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. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Factors to Consider: Louisiana requires that all reduction in force decisions are based "solely upon demand, performance, and
effectiveness," as determined by the state's performance evaluation system. The reduction in force is completed "by dismissing the least effective
teacher within each targeted subject area or area of certification
first, and then proceeding by effectiveness rating until the reduction
in force has been accomplished." Districts may not include seniority or tenure as the "primary criterion" when making reduction-in-force decisions.
Louisiana Revised Statute 17:81.4 (D)
As a result of Louisiana's strong reductions-in-force policies, no recommendations are provided
Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
"Last In, First Out (LIFO)" policies put adult interests before student needs, yet most districts across the country still use these policies in the event of teacher layoffs. While most states leave these decisions to district discretion, other states require layoffs to be based on seniority. Such policies fail to give due weight to a teacher's classroom performance and risk sacrificing effective teachers while maintaining low performers.
Policies that prioritize seniority in layoff decisions can also cause significant upheaval in schools and school districts. As teachers who are newer to the classroom traditionally draw lower salaries, a seniority-based layoff policy is likely to require that districts lay off a larger number of probationary teachers rather than a smaller group of ineffective teachers to achieve the same budget reduction.
States can leave districts flexibility in determining layoff policies, but they should do so while also ensuring that classroom performance is considered. Further, if performance is prioritized, states need not prohibit the use of seniority as an additional criterion in determining who is laid off.