Mass ties teacher performance to hiring

Jun 28, 2012

Massachusetts lawmakers have swiftly passed a bill calling for all school districts to use new teacher evaluations and reduce the role of seniority in personnel decisions.

The measure got a green light from House lawmakers yesterday without debate, according to the State House News Service. It had already passed the Senate and now heads to Governor Deval Patrick for a signature.

In one of her first acts as Rhode Island Education Commissioner, Deborah Gist ordered school districts to halt the practice of using seniority as the sole factor in teacher placement and layoffs. The state has also moved aggressively to implement annual teacher evaluations, which include student test scores as one measure of teacher performance.

Teachers’ unions have largely resisted efforts to do away with seniority-based teacher layoffs altogether, arguing that senior teachers have expertise from their years on the job, and they could face persecution when school districts look to trim spending.