Two reports issued by the New Teacher Project (NTP)–a national nonprofit group working to increase the number of highly qualified people entering the teaching field–served as the genesis of California S.B. 1655, according to state Sen. Jack Scott (D-Pasadena), who introduced the bill.
In 2003, NTP published “Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of the Urban Classrooms,” which noted that high-quality candidates regularly apply in large numbers to teach in difficult-to-staff schools but are never offered positions because senior teachers have priority. As a result, the study found, motivated, qualified teachers accept other positions, and the schools are forced to accept teachers who may not best meet their needs.
In 2005, NTP issued a second report, “Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming the Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts,” which also found teacher transfer rules negatively affected urban schools.
The reports’ authors concluded teachers should retain their right to seek voluntary transfers but should not have a right to a particular placement or to exclude a school’s ability to hire a less-senior teacher. They suggested “schools give preferential review to voluntary transfer applicants” until April 1. By April 15, the authors suggested, schools should be free to begin new teacher hiring and placement and to consider internal and external hires equally.
— Michael Blacher
For more information …
“Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of the Urban Classrooms,” by Jessica Levin and Meredith Quinn, published in 2003 by the New Teacher Project, is available through PolicyBot™, The Heartland Institute’s free online research database. Point your Web browser to http://www.policybot.org and search for document #20594.
“Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming the Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts,” by Jessica Levin, Jennifer Mulhern, and Joan Schunck, published by the New Teacher Project in 2005, is also available through PolicyBot™. Search for document #20595.
“Common Sense in Teacher Hiring,” by Jack Scott and Michelle Rhee, Education Week, November 15, 2006, http://www2.edweek.org/agentk-12/employer-resources/2006/11/15/12rhee.h26.html