Your editorial, “Seniority based teacher layoffs hurts schools, students” (2-13), is based solidly on four myths.
Myth 1: Everyone knows a bad teacher when they see one. There is a clear definition of bad teaching, and everyone knows what it is.
Myth 2: A good teacher can teach well no matter what the conditions.
Myth 3: We don’t have to worry about bad administrators. Administrators are more carefully hired than teachers, and they all know how to evaluate personnel dispassionately.
Myth 4: There’s no downside to firing experienced teachers, especially those in the later years of their professional life. After all, the younger, more energetic teachers are cheaper — a good buy for the taxpayer.
Questions reform-minded legislators must ask when considering the latest education bills, HB1699 and SB 5399, are these:
• Will “the best and brightest” college graduates choose a career where their status and income will be hostage to the vagaries of politics and competing ideologies?
• Will caring, nurturing young adults want to teach school where the odds of living in and serving their community for 25 years are shrinking fast?
• Will teachers ever be interested in “merit pay” when they have already seen other contractual promises — like class size, benefits, bonuses for national certification — disappear before their very eyes?