Monday, May 2, 2011

End 'last in, first out' teacher layoffs

By Michelle Rhee, Special to CNN
February 23, 2011 5:47 p.m. EST

Editor's note: Michelle Rhee is the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools and the CEO and founder of, which advocates teacher evaluations and eliminating tenure and making policy decisions based on students' needs.

(CNN) -- State leaders across the country are confronting some of the toughest decisions they have ever had to make in order to balance their budgets amid a massive financial crisis. As a parent who has worked in education for almost 20 years, knowing that budget cuts will soon hit education is far from my ideal.

A wave of layoffs will likely happen this summer, and my group,, calculates that at least 160,000 teachers are at risk of losing their jobs. What makes this even tougher on kids is that the majority of the country's states and school districts conduct layoffs using an antiquated policy referred to as "last in, first out." The policy mandates that the last teachers hired are the first teachers fired, regardless of how good they are. As it stands now, teachers' impact on students plays absolutely no role in these decisions.

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