More LIFOsuction

New report from The New Teacher Project:  The Case Against Quality Blind Layoffs (pdf). Important (and pretty well-timed given the national debate right now).  Their stuff tends to drive the debate so check this one out.

12 Replies to “More LIFOsuction”

  1. Aren’t we still arguing about an accurate measure of teacher performance? Aren’t you therefore jumping the gun and making assumptions about who the better teachers are? And, are you ignoring research that shows more experienced teachers are better (it’s also common sense…)?

  2. TFT: It’s hard to say that more experienced teachers are better. We need a bit more rigorous approach based on grades of students and how much they are being prepared to compete in the real world. Wouldn’t you agree?

  3. TFT:

    Your first and last questions posed to Andy are based on contradicting premises.

    Also, it’s been pointed out before why arguments relating to accuracy are generally worthless.

  4. Chris: The contradiction is supplied by Andy. If we don’t have a decent measure, how can Andy claim that tossing one is better than tossing another? He can’t because it’s a contradiction.

    Digital: It’s not hard to say. Watch: more experienced teachers are better. Sure, there may be a couple exceptions, but we don’t make rules based on the exceptions.

  5. TFT:

    Not really. You faulted him first for ignoring that we don’t have an “accurate” measure of effectiveness (even though we’ll never be able to measure accuracy), and then you faulted him for ignoring that “research shows more experienced teachers are better”, as indicated by… some measure of effectiveness? Hmm.

    You need to also substantiate your claim that the proposed evaluative measures aren’t “decent”. That should not automatically be assumed.

    There are useful evaluative methods being used and proposed for effective teacher accountability, and given the many counterexamples to the “seniority=effectiveness” argument, it would be more productive to make staffing decisions based directly on what helps kids learn (keeping the teachers that are effective at teaching), rather than based on variables that more indirectly impact student achievement (keeping the teachers that have the most experience in hopes that this faithfully translates into their being effective at teaching).

  6. Principals prefer to hire teachers with experience and parents prefer experienced teachers. And it’s common sense.

    If we all agree there is no accurate measure of performance, then hiring and firing must rely on something else, like experience, which is used in hiring decisions everywhere.

    To claim anything about efficacy of teachers without an accurate measure is dubious. To claim experience doesn’t matter is a silly attempt to push through ineffective measures of teacher performance to weed out more experienced teachers, for no good reason.

  7. TFT:

    Principals and parents both want what’s best for their students — effective instructors. That doesn’t imply those instructors also need years of experience. Experience is an indirect measure of effectiveness that has its drawbacks since the two aren’t always directly proportional.

    When you say that the research has spoken on the experience issue, you consequently accept that there are ways to measure performance. What does such a metric look like? It should probably include multiple pieces of evidence concerning the effectiveness of a given teacher. Something like this would be far more useful than evaluating simply based on seniority, and contrary to your post above, I’d wager that this is rather obvious to most employers and that seniority is *not* “relied on… [and] used in hiring decisions everywhere”, particularly for professionals.

    You’ve also referenced accuracy a few times in your comments but still haven’t realized that it’s not a useful concept to discuss. You’ve accepted that there are ways to measure teacher effectiveness, yet you have no idea what level of accuracy those methods possess, either, nor would you be able to prove it. If the goal is to keep the most effective teachers in schools, we need to base staffing decisions predominantly on effectiveness, and we thus need to include multiple lines of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to increase the resolution of this process. Doing this would guarantee more “accuracy” than any possible model rooted solely on seniority.

  8. While experience is good , it does not a good teacher make . No thats not bad grammar.. Just a bit of Yoda grammar
    Back to my point . A teacher in his first year of teaching can be excellent , while one in his twentieth year could be mediocre. Experience has not much to do with it. Teaching like nursing can be a calling . Those who are in it because it is a joy will be good teachers generally

  9. Michael makes a GREAT point even if there was no Yoda grammar involved. I truly great teacher is a teacher because that is their passion or calling in life. Experience is important in every aspect of life; however, it is very true in the same way that a teacher with twenty years of experience could lose the fire in their heart for teaching and therefore be less inspiring and make much less of an impact in the lives of the children they’re partly responsible for teaching and helping to mold into productive members of society. It is also true that the passion for teaching could just grow stronger with time and that experience only contributes to a teacher’s greatness. This issue has no right or wrong answer because everyone is different. The bottom line is that teachers deserve more respect and frankly should be one the highest paid professions in my opinion. Important budget decisions need to be made but education should be the last place to be cut.

  10. TFT:

    Now you’ve link to a blog that argues that experience matters *as measured by VAM* on a few studies. Are you still not seeing the contradiction between your arguments?

    The question still remains: what is the rationale for hiring/firing based on seniority and hoping this correlates 100% to effectiveness (it won’t) when we can instead make those decisions directly based on effectiveness?

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