The Education Trust-West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.

More than Just Seniority: Tools to Help You Fight for the Rights of Students and Communities

More than Just Seniority: Tools to Help You Fight for the Rights of Students and Communities

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Publication date: 
May 26 2011

By now, you are probably well aware that nearly 20,000 California teachers received a layoff notice telling them that they may be out of a job in the fall. State law requires districts to issue teacher layoffs based on seniority—how long they’ve been teaching.  This means that newer teachers are more likely to be laid off first regardless of how effective they are in the classroom or the needs of their school and community.

The damaging impact of this system on teachers, schools, and students was recently documented by our report, “Victims of the Churn.”  We found that schools serving the highest number of low-income students were more likely than others to experience layoffs. As a result, the students most in need of stability and great teachers become victims of the churn – a revolving door of teachers.

Even now there are ways for districts to lessen the impact of layoffs on our highest need communities. We have put together a set of tools to help you act on students’ behalf:

  • “Exceptions to the Rule: Protecting school communities from the unequal impact of seniority-based layoffs” is a two-page resource guide on the existing rights that school districts can use to protect their highest-need students from the impact of seniority-based layoffs.
  • A web tool will help you predict which schools in your district are at highest risk of seniority-based layoffs.
  • A collection of media clips that covers the devastating effects of seniority-based layoffs on students to highlight a growing awareness in ending this harmful practice. 

Find these tools here: More than Just Seniority: Fighting for the Rights of Students and Communities.