Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some Serious Social Injustice

35% of the teachers at my school are in danger of losing their jobs. More really. Only teachers with tenure were given the courtesy of receiving RIF notices from the district. Those teachers who are so green they barely have their paperwork stamped will be given only 15 days notice before leaving their jobs.

At neighboring schools, I have seen numbers that show up to 49% of teachers in danger of being let go. These are all schools in South Central LA, Watts, and other socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Rumor has it that some teachers in West LA schools aren't even aware of the layoffs. I heard that in one valley school, only 4 teachers got RIFfed.

A proposal:

Instead of laying of 42-50% of the teachers in disadvantaged areas and replacing them with the before-mentioned cubicle workers, instead we should just redistribute. So, some teachers from the valley and West LA could come to our school, and some of the cubicle workers could go to their schools, so that it all worked out evenly for our students.

I'll bet if our superintendent created a plan along these lines, this matter would get the publicity it deserves. Can you imagine the parental response? It would by mayhem. Now I just need to figure out a way to make it happen....

1 comment:

Library Practice said...

The union fought against districts redistributing teachers years ago because... A teacher gets hired by a Valley school, sets down roots, buys a house, gets kids enrolled in school, spouse sets up shop, etc... and then the district would suddenly "redistribute" that teacher to a school near the beach or in the south and suddenly the teacher faces either a HUGE commute every day, or having the entire family pull up stakes.
Essentially, people would get transferred willy-nilly. Principals who didn't like you, even if you were doing a great job, could just apply to have you transferred. There was very little rhyme or reason to where teachers got transferred and very little thought put into where they already were versus where they were being asked to go.
Now in a small district, it's not a bad idea of for the district to have the power to reassign and it doesn't affect the teacher or the teacher's family so much. But in a district the size of LAUSD, it's a burden. And do you really want to grab good teachers from the Valley and force them into an hour or more of a morning commute before they face their students and then an hour or more to get home and be with their families? Is that good for them? Is that good for their students? Is that good for their families? That would help no one and it might be the straw breaking the camel's back that sends that good teacher out of the district entirely.
No. I'm sorry. But I disagree. The district should not have the right to transfer people. And forcing people to stay in those schools will only cause burn-out faster for them and force them to leave the profession. I've worked in inner-city schools. I still do. But 9 years in the classroom at two of the toughest schools in the district wore me down. If I hadn't moved to my current position, I would have quit altogether... and who would that serve?
I understand where you're coming from and your frustrations. I really do. But we have to think of alternatives to forcing and/or withdrawing transfers. Incentives are nice. There used to be dozens of them. People were willing to stay when they got extra money for doing it. There are other things that can be done.