Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority v. Measures of Effectiveness Jul 05, 2011 By James H. WyckoffDonald BoydHamilton LankfordSusanna Loeb Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority v. Measures of Effectiveness School districts are confronting difficult choices in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Today, the financial imbalance in many school districts is so large that there may be few alternatives to teacher layoffs. In nearly all school districts, layoffs are currently determined by some version of teacher seniority. Yet, alternative approaches to personnel reductions may substantially reduce the harm to students from staff reductions relative to layoffs based on seniority. As a result, many school district leaders and other policy makers are raising important questions about whether other criteria, such as measures of teacher effectiveness, should inform layoffs. This policy brief, a quick look at some aspects of the debate, illustrates the differences in New York City public schools that would result if layoffs were determined by seniority in comparison to a measure of teacher effectiveness. Education Finance and Policy Education Finance and Policy James H. Wyckoff Jim Wyckoff is a professor of education and public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Curry Memorial Professor of Education and Policy, and the Director of EdPolicyWorks, a collaboration between the School of Education and Human Development and the Batten School. Wyckoff focuses on issues of teacher labor markets, teacher preparation, recruitment, assessment and retention. His current research examines how teacher assessment and evaluation systems influence the quality of teaching, especially in traditionally low performing classrooms. Read full bio Donald Boyd Hamilton Lankford Susanna Loeb Related Content James H. Wyckoff Teacher Turnover, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in DCPS Research In practice, teacher turnover appears to have negative effects on school quality as measured by student performance. However, some simulations suggest that turnover can instead have large positive effects under a policy regime in which low-performing teachers can be accurately identified and replaced with more effective teachers. Teacher Preparation and Student Achievement Research There are fierce debates over the best way to prepare teachers. Some argue that easing entry into teaching is necessary to attract strong candidates, while others argue that investing in high quality teacher preparation is the most promising approach. Four Batten Professors Ranked as Nation’s Most Influential Education Scholars News Batten School professors Daphna Bassok, Ben Castleman, Sarah Turner and Jim Wyckoff were among 200 scholars nationwide to rank as highly influential in education policy, according to Education Week. Study: DC Public School’s Teacher Evaluation System Continues to Improve Teacher Workforce News As IMPACT enters its second decade, two new studies from team including Batten's Jim Wyckoff provide evidence that the initiative continues to support meaningful improvement in the effectiveness of DCPS teachers.