Assessing the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs

Add this credible and quantitative research
to the growing list of reports finding seniority-based layoffs to be
detrimental both to student learning and to the bottom line. From the CEDR, the
report analyzes data on over 2,000 Washington state teachers who received
reduction-in-force (RIF) notices during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school
years—primarily on a first hired, last fired model. It then compared these
seniority-based layoffs to a number of proposed performance-based layoff
models—each using a different metric for value-added. In a computer simulation,
the seniority-based model caused student learning to lag by two to four months
compared to a performance-based model, and under it African American students
were 50 percent more likely to have their teachers laid off than were white
students (compared to 20 percent more likely in the performance-based
scenario). Further, the study found that performance-based layoffs would save
up to 10 percent of the state’s teacher workforce, as fewer tenured, higher-paid
teachers would need to be pink-slipped to meet budget quotas. Many states,
including Fordham’s home state of Ohio, have laws that require all teacher layoffs to be based on seniority
alone—laws that, in light of this study’s findings, legislators would do well
to cut.

the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs

Center for Education Data and Research
Dan Goldhaber and Roddy Theobald
December 2010