“Outstanding” teacher laid off thanks to union seniority rules

Someone recently mentioned public sector union rules and collective bargaining agreements are designed to protect the individual. It’s all about me, me, me and has little if anything to do with the needs of the customer. In education, the customers are students, and they don’t matter too much.

Many union agreements spell out exactly who will be laid off if the need arises. Do they put a great amount of thought into who gets laid off? Not at all, since that would require both objective and subjective reasoning.

Instead, many union agreements kick out the new people, no matter how good they are. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (June 2010) with a hat tip to Powerline. Last in, first out…

Megan Sampson was named outstanding first-year teacher by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English last week.

Second-year social studies teacher Kevin Condon, also at Bradley Tech High School, has four licenses and can command the attention of 40 students in an open-concept classroom.

Both are among 482 educators – more than 12% of the full-time teachers in the district – who have received layoff notices from Milwaukee Public Schools. …

Sampson and her laid-off colleagues, all who have less than three years of teaching experience, also expressed frustration that their jobs would be filled by more veteran, but not necessarily better, educators.

Sampson and Emily Kaphaem, a world geography and citizenship teacher at Tech, said they have received exemplary performance reviews.

“I feel kind of let down by my city today,” said Kaphaem, 25, as she lost the fight to hold back tears in Principal Ed Kupka’s office.

Kupka is equally frustrated. He hand-selected the new teachers because of their talent and enthusiasm for turning around Tech, recently designated as one of the worst-performing high schools in the state.

“Based on the pressures we’re under as a low-performing school, I absolutely would have chosen a different nine (for layoffs),” Kupka said. “Not everyone is on board with the cultural shift, or has the skills to implement it. The people that are leaving are among the most transformation-minded people on staff.”

These shop rules do nothing to create an atmosphere where a high-preforming teacher is encouraged to excel. Instead, it guarantees they will keep their collective head’s down, show up at protests designed to keep the public funding flowing, and blame the Koch brothers for all of the budget problems. The primary goal for many seems to be to stay within the system for as long as possible, get a bunch of friends to join them, and rule mob-style.

10 replies
  1. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    The beauty and joy of unions!  Fresh, eager, energetic and successful talents gets displaced by old, weathered, worn, unmotivated and privileged.  I thought this issue was about for the 'good of the students!'  Must be the good of the students only applies when raising taxes to pay the tenured more money for a lower class service.

  2. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:

    Will the union see the writing on the wall when Bradley Tech High School is once again " designated as one of the worst-performing high schools in the state." due to the personel changes?

  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Yeah, they are doing it for the children.  Riggghhhht.


    This is right out of the Democrat playbook: fire the essential or best performing people to hurt the voters so they can get what they want.

  4. TomL
    TomL says:

    When you ask the union thugs for the shared sacrafice to keep their brothers working all you hear is fire them no give backs. 

  5. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    A simple solution that would elevate the unions credibility, especially these days, would be to have a mechanism to remove the ne'er-do-wells.  Either for legitimate bad performance or from abusing the privilege of union seniority or membership. 

  6. Gary J
    Gary J says:

    Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? Get rid of the good teachers so you eventually have to hire 2 or 3 to replace that person. That = 3 dues payers rather than one. Makes total sense to me,hey if i'm a union official i want more money and job security.

  7. andy@american
    [email protected] says:

    I would think the newer teachers are probably paid less than the teachers with more tenure. (Could be wrong there) Point is, from a union perspective, wouldnt they be better served laying off the highest paid vs the lower paid teachers?? Gotta keep as many dues payers as we can, right?? Id guess 5 higher paid teachers equal 6 or 7 lower paid ones.? Anyway we look at it though?im sure the union is looking out for the best interest of the union.

  8. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I am so glad my kids age -32 and 40 are through with school. They got a great education, now my grandkids…..I guess I’ll have to help teach them. At least American History and Science not Global Warming, I mean Climate Change.

  9. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Just noticing a trend in the inability of the local lefty union boosters to condone or defend this, or the threats of violence…

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