SEATTLE - With the state’s budget crunch, it’s likely school districts will have to make some difficult decisions this fall, including the possibility of laying off teachers. Now, state senator Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue says, if there are layoffs, the worst performing teachers should be laid off first.
School districts historically have used several factors when determining layoffs, but seniority is typically one of the main considerations.
"Why would you lay off a second or third-year teacher of the year in lieu of someone who might have eight to ten years of experience, but is on probation?” Tom asks.
Tom argues that teachers with the worst evaluations over the past couple years should be the first to lose their jobs. But his proposal is facing stiff opposition from teachers’ unions.
In Washington state, there is not a detailed or uniformed evaluation system for teachers. Many are simply ranked “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” by their principals. That’s because, in Washington state, teacher compensation is tied not to evaluations of performance, but to seniority and level of education.
"It's an empty bill. It's misguided. The education community, superintendents, school boards, principals, classified employees, everyone is united that this is ill-conceived,” said Michael Ragan with the Washington Education Association.
Much more on the controversial issue of how to evaluate teachers this weekend on KING 5 News Up Front, Sunday night, Feb. 6 at 11:30 on KING.