Last week I received a letter from human resources informing me that I cannot count on having a job for the 2013-2014 school year. Though the details may vary somewhat from district to district, the general reason for this job insecurity will be familiar to many teachers.
As my letter from HR helpfully explains, districts are often unable to predict with certainty exactly how many teaching positions they will have to fill in the following school year. Some teachers may retire or resign, but positions may also be cut for various reasons and in that event teachers with more seniority in the district can have "first pick" of the positions that remain. (My previous tenure in the Oakland Unified School District grants me no job security here.)
Of course, the larger question is why is his school district laying off teachers at all?
I'm sure it was just a coincidence that the next article in my news reader was this one:
The Sacramento school board is rushing to shut down 11 elementary schools. That’s 20 percent of the elementary schools run by the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Those layoffs aren't caused by acts of God, the weather, and probably not declining population.
Also, even if you think that districts should be basing these decisions on evaluations and test scores, should we also expect those to be done by the end of January every year?