AirTalk for October 6, 2010

Seniority challenged at LAUSD

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David McNew/Getty Images

United Teachers Los Angeles and supporters protest state and local budget cuts in Los Angeles, California.

When the district handed out pink slips to over three thousand teachers last spring, some of the city’s worst-performing schools got the brunt of the firings. This because of LAUSD’s long-standing practice of ‘last-hired, first-fired,’ which many critics contend has left students in low-income schools at a disadvantage. Now a landmark lawsuit, approved by L.A.’s Board of Education on Tuesday, aims to change that practice, allowing the LAUSD to fire teachers with seniority over new teachers and thus spread layoffs more evenly throughout the district. The suit was filed by legal groups including the ACLU. If approved by a judge, the reform could serve as a model for school districts nationwide. Do the teachers with the most experience deserve immunity from layoffs? Or should seniority be the sole basis for keeping a less effective teacher in the classroom?

Guests:

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor, City of Los Angeles

Jason Felch, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times

William Koski, Professor of Clinical Education and Director, Youth and Education Law Project, Stanford University

John Deasy, Deputy Superintendant, LAUSD


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