When seniority doesn't rule the school
On November 24, Arizona's H.B. 2011, originally passed in September, went into effect. That means that districts are now barred from using tenure and seniority when making hiring and firing decisions, and granted new flexibility when it comes to notifying current teachers whether they'll be retained and on what criteria they'll make salary decisions (specifically, that they need not be based on seniority). Though in large part this bill was less about contracts and more about local control, we can't help but note the irony that districts had their union-contract shackles replaced by another set of restraints: districts who do want to make hiring and firing decisions based on seniority are no longer allowed to do so. That enables the Arizona chapter of the NEA to assert that these changes have now made the Grand Canyon State one of the 'most restrictive' on teacher hiring, firing, and salaries. That's probably true, if you're talking about restricting the unions; as for districts and schools that will be finally be able to make hiring, firing, and salary decisions based on something other than seniority, however, we think of this as freedom.
Law changes way teachers contract with districts, by Alex Bloom,??The Arizona Republic, November 23, 2009