Reductions in Force: Louisiana

2011 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: Louisiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/LA-Reductions-in-Force-10

Analysis of Louisiana's policies

In Louisiana, several factors must be used to determine which teachers are laid off during a reduction in force. The state requires "certification, if applicable; seniority in the system; tenure of employees; and academic preparation, if applicable, within the employee's field" to be considered.

Citation

Recommendations for Louisiana

Ensure that seniority is not the only factor used to determine which teachers are laid off.
Unlike most states, Louisiana requires districts to use multiple factors in determining which teachers are laid off and does not make seniority the sole factor. However, the criteria currently in use are problematic in that they are poor proxies for what matters most: a teacher's effectiveness. If the state wants to continue to use certification, seniority, tenure and academic preparation, it should do so while also ensuring that teacher effectiveness is given due weight.

Require that districts consider classroom performance as a factor in determining which teachers are laid off during reductions in force.
Louisiana should give districts the flexibility to determine their own layoff policies, but it should do so within a framework that ensures that classroom performance is considered.   

State response to our analysis

Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

LIFO policies put adult interests before student needs.  

Across the country, most districts utilize "last in, first out" policies in the event of teacher layoffs.  Most states leave these decisions to district discretion; some 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.  

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).