If some Pennsylvania state lawmakers have their way, teacher layoffs soon can be based on performance rather than just seniority. Although the idea is not new, the proposal once again has been made to amend the PA School Code to eliminate the longstanding requirement that when schools lay off teachers they eliminate the positions of the least senior employees.
The proposals, found in Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 805, would permit districts that need to lay off teachers to select the worst performing teachers instead of the least senior, using annual performance ratings as the guide. According to reports the bills’ sponsors say that it too often is the case that good teachers are let go while poorer performing teachers are kept, and they note that Pennsylvania is one of only six states that still requires these decisions to be made on the basis of seniority only.
Again, the proposal is not new, but the bills do have bi-partisan support. They have been referred to the respective Education Committees in each chamber, and we will continue to monitor their progress.