Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Excellent Schools Now Coalition

Feb.
12th

Seniority-based teacher layoffs hurt schools, students

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Here’s a multiple choice question for anyone concerned about the quality of Washington’s schools:

With teacher layoffs almost guaranteed because of looming cuts in state funding to school districts, which teachers should be the ones to get pink slips?

A. Those with the least seniority, even if they’re among the best and teach subjects – such as math – that districts have difficulty finding teachers for.

B. Those whose evaluations indicate they are the weakest and least effective in the classroom.

For parents, students and some legislators, the answer is a no-brainer: B. Keep the best and lay off the problem teachers.

In a recent telephone poll commissioned by the Partnership for Learning and the Excellent Schools Now Coalition, 81 percent of the 500 voters contacted agree with the statement: “If a district is facing layoffs, teachers should be retained based on their performance in raising student achievement, not how many years they have been teaching.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s done in Washington. When layoffs are required, they’re done strictly on a seniority basis. Read more »

Jan.
14th

A classroom view of school reforms

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Many people presume to speak for teachers: lawmakers, parents’ groups, the Washington Education Association, various K-12 lobbies. But there’s no substitute for letting teachers speak for themselves.

What teachers think is a particularly timely question right now. Last year, Washington forfeited any claim it might have had to $4 billion in “Race to the Top” funding the Obama administration has offered to states pioneering cutting-edge reform strategies. In Olympia, the political resistance to some of those strategies – merit pay, for example – has often been framed in terms of what’s best for educators.

After the Race to the Top failure, a partnership of pro-education organization decided to find out what a scientific sample of actual rank-and-file teachers thought of the proposed reforms. The Excellent Schools Now Coalition surveyed educators in November. As it turns out, they appear much more receptive to the Race to the Top policies than some seem to think.

Excellence in Schools Now is a high-credibility group that includes the College Success Foundation, Black Collective, League of Education Voters, Stand For Children and the Washington Roundtable. Some of the results from its survey:
Read more »