Pink Slip Policies Hurt Schools: Report

March 15.

Does that day ring a bell?

It's well known to public educators, as the day teachers must be given pink slips if they have a chance of getting laid off.

A new report from education advocacy organization The Education Trust West claims state teacher lay-off policies are "damaging" the school community in terms of over-noticing teachers.

Far more teachers are given pink slips than are actually laid off. In the districts studied in the report, it was by more than four to one.

According to the study, lay-off policies are also damaging in terms of how many actual lay-offs came from schools in what the study calls “high poverty areas.”

“It's almost like starting all over again. Each year. And a school like Lincoln can't afford to do that,” said Principal Ana Galindo Shapiro.

She says Lincoln High School students need the stability at school they may not be able to get at home. Many go to Lincoln needing academic support that comes with a teaching staff that is consistent year to year.

Although the study does not say why, it does say schools in high poverty areas often have the teachers with less seniority, and because of California's seniority based lay off system, they are first to go.

Shapiro says that's tough, as Lincoln spends time and energy building a community at school. A lot of that is a financial investment, building a cohesive teaching approach and with a constant flux in staff, it creates a lot of chaos on campus.

“We're spinning our wheels. We take a step forward and have to start all over again for another school year so it's really difficult,” said Shapiro.

The report does offer some recommendations:

  • Change the lay off notification date of March 15 to a later date when more financial information about budget will be available.
  • Give districts flexibility to protect schools from disproportionate numbers of lay offs.
  • Replace the seniority based lay off laws with policies that emphasize job effectiveness.
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